As I write this, I am sitting in a Courtyard Marriott lobby. I feel like a legitimate writer because I imagine all real writers write important things from hotel lobbies. I am also wearing glasses right now, which is step two of writer legitimacy. The next step is to grow a beard, start chain smoking, or cut my hair into a pixie.
Maybe I’m not ready to be a legitimate writer after all.
This weekend we are in Orange County celebrating the wedding of two very good-looking, very awesome people. Weddings are most fun when the bride and groom are both good looking and awesome, like marriage is just completing the circuit of awesomeness. I can get behind that. Those are the weddings worth staying at a hotel for.
We are at this wedding to share something with the bride and groom.
We come as wedding warriors, here to witness our friends’ vows and to fight for them when life gets hard and confusing. The bridal party stands like sentries on either side of the bride and groom, as defenders and guardians of this sacred union.
I really love sharing important things with special people.
I love sharing dessert with people who are too full or only want “a bite.” I share by consuming the other 17 bites. I love sharing clothes with people more stylish than me and shampoo with people who take better care of their hair than I do. I love blonde children because we share natural blondeness in a world full of brunette fakers.
I love sharing stories and adventures, especially stories that make us feel a bit more honest and vulnerable. Sharing our vulnerable places is like exposing our jagged edges and then realizing those jagged edges are actually connective tissue, like pieces of a puzzle.
All relationships are built on and for sharing.
My brother lives in New Zealand right now and I love him for it because (1) I can play him as my “cool card” in lame conversations. (2) Our homesickness has become connective tissue. It is something we share.
I can share aspects of my story now that my brother didn’t get before. Moving from home takes us so far away and yet knits us so close together. Our jagged edges become important. We are able to share the burden of things that both break and heal our hearts, sometimes at the same time. It requires an exposure of jagged edges.
The thing I love about weddings is that even though every detail is so well coordinated and polished, at the end of the day, marriage is just a union of jagged, messy edges.
Weddings are as beautiful as they are stressful and complicated. The groom wears a tailored tux and the bride wears crisp white, but underneath, the groom is sweating buckets and the bride can’t pee on her own. The centerpieces look beautiful and the candlelight is mesmerizing, but in preceding days someone inevitably glued their thumb to forefinger at 3am while crafting this ambiance.
Weddings are a messy, beautiful collision. The bride and groom are just two people that have learned to make their unfinished corners align. They have shared secrets and stories and fought then made up and insulted each other’s families while falling in love with them. They have learned to become complements of each other in ways that cost something. The cost feels risky, because it means sacrificing being right for being jagged. Connection requires something to latch on to.
The wedding day is this beautiful grand finale. It is the moment where the jagged edges finally make sense, because they fit you into someone and something. They fortify a union. Relationships are built on jagged edges that fit together like puzzle pieces or interlocked fingers. Maybe this is why holding hands is the first step towards intimacy.
It’s getting a bit late now and the hotel lobby has emptied. Just a moment ago I looked up and noticed a couple walk in. They had graying hair, the man had a pot-belly, and the woman looked uncomfortable in her high heels. I noticed these things that served as evidence of their real-life jagged edges. But there was something remarkable about them: they were holding hands.
I guess our jaggedness never goes away. It just helps us grow into someone.
It makes me really happy to know that my unfinished edges fit me into someone better, to a really good husband who has hands calloused from lifting weights and giving high fives.
It makes me feel better to know that connection hinges on imperfection, since all important things in life are worth sharing: weddings, hotel lobbies, and hands.
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Andrews. May you hold hands forever.