Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., being honored today throughout America, famously said:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Yesterday I attended a kind of wedding party that was a first for me. It taught me a great deal about what it could mean, having love at the core of your character.
That wedding party also educated me about a new kind of legal love in America, made possible by a shift in collective consciousness during our lifetimes, Blog-Buddies.
In a growing number of American states, that shift to our collective consciousness — and the law — allows marriage equality.
Yesterday my husband MITCH and I attended a wedding party in honor of JOE and JOHN. (In today’s article I’m not using names of the party guests out of respect for the privacy of people involved, none of whom saw my invisible “Blog Press Credentials.”)
An ordinary celebration of marriage between two men
The happy couple married recently at a county courthouse in Maryland. A few wedding-time pictures were taken in front of some lovely flowers. Plastic flowers. Courthouse variety.
Yesterday’s follow-up party for friends took place at a lovely Marriott hotel, one known for outstanding food. With real flowers.
In many respects, this was simply an ordinary wedding reception, timed a bit after the legal wedding ceremony. Good food. Good music. Lovely meeting rooms at a comfortably appointed hotel.
This was no Bridezilla bash, nothing ostentatious. Guests were the couple’s friends from a variety of social contexts, everyone meeting and mingling. Wine flowed freely, and so did the conversation.
Before this event, in response to questions about bridal registry, JOE had written to us guests that our presence would be gift enough
“We have been together for 30 years. We already have everything we need.”
Imagine, married yet not-legally-married for three decades!
Among the wedding guests were JAMES and JASPER, the first gay couple JOE and JOHN had know to legally marry. Residents of Washington, D.C., they had “eloped” for a small wedding ceremony at… a county courthouse.
At that time, JAMES told me, legalized marriage equality was still so new in the District of Columbia, there was a 2-1/2-month wait to make an appointment. For a ceremony lasting exactly eight minutes.
This Washington wedding, like the one in Maryland, was likewise graced by plastic flowers.
MITCH asked JAMES if he noticed anything different, being legally married after so many years of marriage-as-if-legally-married.
JAMES is a thoughtful man. Actually, I would say that about all the guests at this wedding. Some with pretty ordinary jobs and lifestyles, some with extraordinary careers; some locally famous, some internationally-brag-worthy famous. Not that I heard bragging by a single person at this gathering. I’m just saying.
It was such a varied group, a bit like “The View” with respect to age. Decades were represented from 20-something through 70-ish, I suspect. Yet the median age must have been around 65.
What did these folks have in common, apart from, clearly, loving JOE and JOHN? Thoughtful people.
JAMES was thoughtful when asked that pretty personal question by MITCH.
“Not much changed, I suppose,” JAMES said after a pause. “Except the marriage was a kind of recognition by society. We belong now. In society. In a way that we never belonged before.”
Love, whether celebrating a wedding or simply celebrating life
Maybe it’s the teacher in me. Or maybe it’s that funny gift of holistic knowing, a way I am wired that I wrote about in Aura Reading Through All Your Senses. Holistic knowing means an innate way of being aware of the whole group, small or large, festive or not-so-great. Plenty of folks have holistic knowing but don’t know it. I happen to know about it.
It’s habitual for me by now to consciously, lightly, use my holistic knowing. Whatever the group’s purpose — and this was not an event where I did any aura reading or Skilled Empath Merges at all — just as a human being who has holistic knowing, I consciously observe the hosting.
At this party I was especially interested in hosting because I am such a huge fan of JOE and JOHN. It had been 25 years since MITCH and I went to a party of theirs. How would they host this time?
Unostentatious hosting made elegant
I loved how JOE and JOHN issued the wedding party invitations — sure, using Evites, but first sending a personal email asking guests if we could come. Old school manners along with today’s technology. Nice!
More specifically about hosting, at the event I admired how each guest was welcomed and the finesse when, at times, the crowd was gently directed. Refined hosting showed in how the toasts were managed. Also appreciation-worthy was that delicate version of a wedding reception classic, where the couple feed each other bites of wedding cake. This was a simultaneous groom-and-groom verson, deftly accomplished, with tenderness and respect.
From time to time, JOE and JOHN would circulate among the guests, never seeming to be actively hosting. But, oh, they were. Even a joyful occasion like this one can leave some guests stranded. These particular hosts spread the love around. Without being mushy-gushy Rose-Rosetree-style, they expertly made sure that everybody felt included.
Besides the marvelous hosting, the superb wedding entertainment, the delightful guests — how I took in that wedding food, especially the dessert. In addition to wedding cake and excellent coffee, behold the magnificent tiramisu! Thank you, hosts.
Despite my having a definite sweet tooth, one exception is that usually I don’t like cake. This time? I devoured two helpings each, tiramisu and wedding cake. Maybe one serving each for JOE and JOHN, JASPER and JAMES.
Okay, back to the point, which was not only the hosting around food for us all, but overall graciousness in the hosting. Ordinary human happiness ruled the day.
Love and caring to the guests.
Love and caring towards each other, groom to groom.
Seems to me, this wedding party symbolized taking loving-kindness to the next level for ordinary people. Regular human caring and love that included ordinary social recognition.
If the poet William Butler Yeats had been present, he might have proclaimed. “Great tenderness is let loose upon the world.”
Your role in history, and mine
Going to parties isn’t usually my idea of a deep kind of work to serve humanity. God forbid, at my life review, I would be told “You did pretty good, as a Party Girl.”
Yet sometimes in simple human events, a larger context shines through.
Here was a wedding celebration with most of the guests in their sixties. Here was a pair of lovebirds, tweeting together long before there ever was such a thing as a Twitter. JAMES and JASPER, too, had married officially rather late in life for a couple of long-term sweethearts.
Why that age demographic?
This is the first generation in America for such legalities. Other nations have been way ahead of the U.S. that way, I know, I know.
Yet isn’t this still, worldwide, a first generation of marriage equality? Not that this has happened yet in all of America, or all the world. Here and there, it has begun.
It has begun. That’s what matters. Including a very human new possibility, the ordinariness of marriage equality.
Here is what I believe. About all of us who are participating in this shift to collective consciousness: This is one of the big reasons we’re here. We are bringing more truth into earth, deep truth about humanity and love and appearances and illusions and character.
A constant opportunity for a human incarnation for spiritual growth consists in learning about the meaning of humanity. Though sometimes we forget, it is a fresh kind of joy to remember how ordinary it can be to live in love.
On this American holiday that honors our greatest Civil Rights leader, we can renew a kind of love. LGBTQ or straight, single or partnered… right now, Blog-Buddies… let’s remember. Love is a privilege. Every day, you can choose to claim that privilege for yourself.
As you design your own path to Enlightenment, why not include some ordinary human love?