Early in the Summer I wrote about how busy wouldn't rule my summer. I lied. I don't know what I was thinking. But the busiest, most consuming part of my summer brought me into a world of love and wonder. I'm still kind of flying high from it. In July, we flew as a family to the Bay Area of California for five days celebrating my brother, Jeremy, and his bride, Grace, in the joyous occasion of their marriage. It was five days of love, family, learning, and just pure magic. We hiked above the Bay, sailed the San Francisco Harbor, brunched, learned, and fellowshipped with my new sister's Chinese American family. The whole event was a beautiful joining of two cultures brought together in love. It was the trip of a lifetime. Full of adventure, joy, and so very much love. At the end, they were married, and I was refreshed. Exhausted, but refreshed. Exhausted from traveling across the country with a one year old and two year old. Exhausted from schedules and fittings and all the exciting hullaballoo a wedding weekend brings. Exhausted from locking the kids in the rental car after the Rehearsal - that's when we were especially thankful for the 65 degree temps - oh and shout out to the Oakland Fire Department, you guys are the bomb.com. Then there's the jet lag, the overtired melting down flower girl, and the one year old who WILL NOT sleep in a pack n play and slept across my neck like a ferret every single night we were there. Exhausted.
But more than exhausted, I came home so so refreshed. Refreshed in the partnership of my own marriage. Jordan and I rocked our cross country travel with our kiddos. We (and by we, I pretty much mean I) thought of everything. Snacks, toys, these amazing rolling contraptions to strap the carseats in and wheel the kids through the airports. And we pulled it off beautifully. Together. The girls were happy little travelers and we will gloat about it. We nailed it. Go us. It feels good to partner up and get something done. We feel like we won the Super Bowl. But better.
I also came home refreshed in love. Love for my husband. Love for my family. Love for all people. Of course I feel gushy after every wedding I attend. It harkens me back to Jordan and my 101 degree wedding day in South Georgia 6 years ago. The love and emotions, the anticipation and hope for the future. Today I can see how far we've come since that day. How we've grown in love, learned to love better, and built a life so different but so much more than what we could have imagined then.
Then there's my family. Seeing my big brother declare his love for his bride and enter in to the lovely adventure of marriage made me swell with gratitude and love and praise. Seeing my parents beam with love and pride as he and his wife said their vows. Witnessing the whole slew of us come together on the other side of the country to be there for people whom we all love so much. Helping each other, holding each other's babies, sharing clothes, running errands for each other, carrying each other's kids up mountains (literally), making it all work because we love each other - it was a beautiful vision of family and unconditional love.
And then by surprise, my brother's wedding gave me so much hope and love for our world and the people in it. The day of the wedding we gathered at Grace's parents' home for a Chinese wedding tradition - door games, followed by a tea ceremony. During the door games, the groom and his groomsmen have to earn the right to go inside the house for the groom see his bride. Jeremy had to sing, dance, speak Chinese, and pay up to earn his way to Grace. Then when he got to see his bride, they knelt and served tea to their elders, receiving advice and blessings for their marriage. The tea ceremony was sacred and beautiful. It was a time to honor those who raised them to be the people they are. To listen and to acknowledge the wisdom and love of those who will continue to guide them in person and in spirit forever. It was the most beautiful display of love and respect I have ever seen. And as I stood perched on the staircase in the living room, sandwiched between my two year old and Grace's newlywed brother and sister-in-law, hearing English and Chinese, witnessing Jeremy and Grace receive love and blessings in different languages, surrounded by people from all over the world, I just kind of had a moment. There are no differences here. Just God's people. Coming together in love. When love is what binds us, we can do anything. During the tea ceremony, I laughed and cried and smiled and prayed. What a beautiful display of what we can be when we stop seeing differences and operate from a place of love. We can be amazing.
I'm still spellbound by our trip - memorized by love and family and people. I hope the feeling never goes away. And I hope you can pause and praise today for the love and family and people who make up your life and our world. Let's live in awe of each other every day. It's just better that way.
If you want to see a slide show of wedding day, click here.
*Photos by CuStock Photography of Jeremy and Grace on their beautiful wedding day