A visitation

Wedding blessings

Weddings involve a lot of cat-herding. They require advance preparation. And they reward openness to what arises, the willingness and ability to notice and enjoy serendipity.

Tonight's wedding went well. (They always do.) We lucked out; the morning's rain dried up and we got a beautiful, if somewhat humid, June evening. Signing the ketubah beforehand in the MASS MoCA clocktower, I noticed how natural the bride and groom already were together, how easily their teasing flowed.

People seemed to like the ceremony. (There were several congregants there, which was a nice treat for me.) My trusty votive (meant for lighting the havdalah candle) failed me but I had a backup lighter in my pocket, so all was well. The bride and groom circling each other was surprisingly intense, and lovely like an old-fashioned dance.

But the best moment came when the groom's mother was called up to offer one of the sheva brachot, the traditional seven blessings at the heart of the Jewish wedding ceremony. She has Alzheimer's and seemed at first too confused to participate, but then she faced the crowd square and asked, "are you ready for this?" And she read her line beautifully.

A moment later, three elderly sisters came up to read the penultimate blessing in chorus. The courtyard practically vibrated with joy.

I love doing weddings because they're such happy occasions. Because they're a chance to celebrate and sanctify the transition between one state of being and another. And because something always happens that I didn't expect, and if I'm smart enough to be open to it when it does, it always leaves me feeling blessed.

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