This morning I found myself reflecting on a wedding that I performed at yesterday afternoon and evening. It was a strangely cold and rainy September afternoon in Austin, TX. A day before Fall. It was at a venue called Chapel Dulcinea that overlooks the gently rolling hills of Driftwood.
Before I explain the wedding itself, let me give you a little backdrop about the couple. Due to restrictions from Covid19, the couple was forced to change their original plans of having a large wedding in Banff, California. They went back to the drawing board and considered having a wedding at a Fairmont in Canada. When that fell through because of new Covid restrictions, they decided to come full circle and have their wedding within an hour of their home in Georgetown, TX. They decided to have a small, intimate wedding with family-only at Chapel Dulcinea in Austin, within a mile of Driftwood.
While many couples may have thrown in the towel and held a grudge against the circumstances they faced, they instead took on the challenge with optimism and love for each other that is seldom seen these days. As I walked up the steep pathway to the chapel, I reminisced on my wedding day back in 2019. The anticipation, butterflies in the stomach, desire for everything to go as planned, and at the same time desperation to have it all over with can consume you in an instant. It’s a lot to take in. Yet, as I started setting up my equipment I started having conversation with the parents of the bride and groom as they were early to find their seats at the chapel. I was taken aback by how casual and relaxed they were. While oftentimes ceremonies can feel a bit stiff and tense, these family members seemed at ease as if the wedding was already over. As I started performing the first few songs prior to the actual ceremony, the rain started to pick up a bit. Then, the bridal party walked in and took their spots at the alter while the rain started to fall a little bit harder. Next, the bride and groom approached and began walking into the beautiful open-air chapel. At this point, the wind and rain was really starting to pick up, but they carried on and walked up to the alter with huge smiles on their faces and looks of total peace in their eyes as they anticipated the start of their ceremony. As I finished up the processional for the bride, “I’d Have to Be Crazy” by Willie Nelson, the officiant (Father of the Bride) began in prayer.
The officiant touched on the point that all relationships face obstacles. Life will always bring hardship, but it is how you react and the attitude that you have moving through difficult times that will shape the outcome of your present dilemma. It is easy to throw in the towel and hold grudges, carry a chip on your shoulder, and chalk it up to “Why do bad things always happen to me?” True strength is sculpted through adversity. The less you give into pessimism and the more you cling to optimism, you will find that those obstacles you once thought looked like mountains, start looking a lot more like anthills.
As the ceremony came and went, I noticed a sense of peace between the bride and groom that was very refreshing. Intuitively, you could pick up on the fact that they had accepted the challenges that were placed upon them. They had purged their frustrations and decided to move forward with loving and faithful hearts towards the future. The dinner and reception after the wedding ceremony was even more proof that this couple was making the most of the alternative wedding they were forced to have. While I performed their first dance song, as well as the father/daughter, and mother/son songs they carried a look of satisfaction and gratefulness for the exact moment they were in. They danced, they laughed, they cried, and they partied like Covid19 was a past memory. It didn’t matter that they had to totally upend their original wedding plans. They were in love and they were married. That’s all that mattered.
This wedding was a perfect example of the joy that resiliency has to offer once you cross the finish line. 2020 has been very challenging and hard to understand for all of us. It has forced us to take a deeper look within and figure out what really matters to us. In uncertain and challenging times, the most important aspects of life that we have to cling to are God and family. By mustering up the strength to adapt in a changing world, we can achieve anything. We can have relationships that stand the test of time. We can raise kids in harmonious, as well as uncertain times. We can live the lives that we deserve with open minds, hard work, and willingness to change the current course that we’re on. It is this willingness to adapt that we must take seriously. We must not let our emotions get the best of us and drag us into contempt, disdain, regret, frustration, depression, or envy. Instead, it’s imperative that we take a step back, take a deep breath, analyze the situation we’re in and keep formulating new game plans until we find something that works. Life is way too short to be unhappy and “stuck in the mud”.
If Covid19 has taught us anything, I believe it’s that change is inevitable. It’s a way of life. The only thing that we can control is how we deal with these changes. Do we fall into depression? Do we give up? Call off the wedding? Get divorced? Or... do we lick our wounds and move on? Stay positive and ride out the storm? Make a change that will put us on a path to victory? It’s our choice. As Robert Plant says, “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”
P.S. - Check out Chris Stapleton’s new song, “Starting Over”. It really touches on a lot of what I’ve been speaking about in this post. Facing adversity with love and faith will always play out well in the end. Thank you for reading and God bless you!