Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ring Bearer

Yesterday,  my 22 year old nephew got  married.  Jack has just completed four years at West Point.  (His twin brother just completed four years at The Naval Academy.)  America's brightest, most talented, most promising: our future.  I love these boys (men.) I do. Politically I am probably not very much like them or their parents, but our love and respect for each other is strong and real.  And, for all of their lives , both of these young men have embraced, included, and interacted with Taylor in meaningful and loving ways.  Early on, the contrasts were not so glaring or vast.  Today, the gap between the boys (the twins and Taylor) ---intellectually,  physical abilities,  potential earning power, "America's most valuable resource"--the differences can not even be compared on the same chart---if there were such a chart.  (I guess I have an ongoing chart in my head.)  Taylor, 25---the groom, 22--both taking part in the same life----same stores, same speed limits on the same highways,   same family picnics, ---but totally different lives.
    Jack and his bride, Joanna,  asked Taylor to be the ring bearer for their  wedding.  Taylor's "job"  was  to walk down the aisle, find the twin best man and give him the ring to hold for the groom. Gosh, that sounds so simple doesn't it?  Let me just say that it's a good thing we were able to practice. And, even with that, it was touch and go.  But, Taylor hung on to that pillow and found his way down an aisle amongst people who love him and made his way to an anxious and welcoming groom.  Everybody cried.  Cried to see this man child taking so seriously this one seemingly simple and sacred task.  Cried that he was included----"one of the gang" at a grown up wedding---a celebration and ceremony that he, himself will never experience.  Tears came from many layers and for all sorts of reasons.  I am beginning to see that this will be a life-long, kick-in-the-gut, "Oh, but this is my life," process for the rest of my life with Taylor.
     Perhaps the most touching part of the day----the day of the ring-bearer---happened in our home as we worked to get Taylor ready for church.  He is a bit confused about "bury" and "marry" and it became clear that he thought maybe somebody had died and that we would be singing at a church somewhere.  He knows bury better than he knows marry.  Working on my eye liner from another room, I could hear Taylor and his older brother, Cole, wrestle with working the belt through its loops.  Cole, who would later rapture the ears and hearts of  wedding guests,    violin-ing  Saint-Saens , Debussy, and Pachelbel----patiently belted and buttoned his younger brother before his  little ring-bearer  march down the aisle.  Cole left with his violin case and his remarkable, brilliant talent. Taylor carried a pillow and an innocence and un-knowing that most of us cannot begin to re-create. Two brothers and later two cousins, side-by-side with everything and nothing in common.  How delicate---how difficult, how real.  We cried.  You would have too.
       What I witnessed and felt so strongly was the acceptance that was shared with Taylor---in public, in a sacred place with caring people.  To love Taylor---or people like Taylor--- just means that you just become your best self---your higher self---your transformed-by-love self.  Because including him (and others like him) won't "get you anywhere" if any where is where you're looking to be.  But, it will get you to special place--a place that I have come to see as holy and tender and way down deep real.
Bearer of the rings......that he who brings them and they who receive them may abide in peace.