Tuesday 2 September 2014

An August full of weddings

I went to three weddings in August!

Someone said I must be addicted, which I'm not sure is quite the right phrase - it wasn't like I invited myself. Haha. Since marriages have dominated my summer weekends I thought it only fitting to write a bit about them, and to share some photos (of course!), because I enjoyed taking pics at all of them. And I'm quite pleased with how they turned out, if I do say so myself. If you're on Facebook you may have already seen a ton of them!

Chris & Esther, Brighton (well, Hove actually!). I met Chris through the Breaking society at Sussex Uni
Since my own wedding, very nearly three whole years ago (mad!), the nuptial scene has been fairly quiet. There was a flurry of 'young Christian marriages' (someone had to say it) between the ages of 20 and 24 and now things have chilled a bit. So I think I appreciated this year's weddings more than some - hate to say it but 6 or seven in a year can get a bit much... - I KNOW they are a special day but hours of high heels and small talk can be a bit of a killer.  High heels and small talk were involved to some extent in the last three weddings BUT so was plenty of great conversations, dancing, beautiful flowers, good food, colour, beauty and a lot of love.

James & Lily, St Ives Harbour. I met Lily at the House of Prayer, when we visited Cornwall in 2012
Weddings can be quite reflective times, partly they because mark what can be a huge change in two people's lives.  I suppose they are a bit of a goodbye as well as a hello.  Wedding guests are all the people who've played an important role in one of both of the couple's life up until that point.  This was highlighted by the longest-groom's-speech-ever this weekend in which Benny, my 'little brother', thanked the whole world INDIVIDUALLY for how they'd shaped his and his new wife's lives. I'll be honest Benny, after 40 minutes and you hadn't got to your family yet we were nearly downing the remnants of the champagne BUT I also think why not? What a great opportunity to celebrate friendship and family how relationships really can save you.  After the wedding, things may never quite be the same, including other relationships.  I don't think that's right or wrong but I guess it's kind of bound to happen.  There's quite a few people I haven't seen since my wedding.  Not by choice, but more life taking us down different paths.

Ben & Jess, Godalming. My mum went to uni with Benny's parents. So I've know him all his life!

As we enter September I'm still in that reflective place, perhaps because the three weddings represented three major parts of my life. One in Brighton, one in St Ives and one in Godalming (with strong links to the not quite so quaint Basingstoke). One for a University friend, one a Cornish-church friend and one a family friend. Two guys who are like brothers and one girl who was quite instrumental in us moving to Cornwall. I didn't know their partners very well, and no one went to any of the other weddings (even hubby only came to one). So three very different worlds, that haven't really overlapped in my almost 28 years. At this last one, my parents and sisters were there, but also friends from primary school AND (unexpectedly) friends from time spent in Ibiza and Spain a few years ago. All I need now is a Zambian wedding and an Oxford wedding and I'd have pretty much all 'homes' covered!

My main ponderings have been about that whole balance of past, present and future.  I've probably mentioned before how I'm prone to nostalgia. Which I reveals itself in my 'need' to document life—in journal entries, blog posts, photos, boxes of letters and cards.  To me the past is what has shaped us into who we are today, and so I feel it's important to remember it, to look back and learn and be thankful.  Maybe if my past had been horrendous I'd feel differently? Maybe if I had a fixed place I belonged to or 'came from' I wouldn't care so much? I know other people have a very different perspective - that today is what matters.

Mr Q doesn't understand why I value photos and old diaries so much (causing slight tension over the amount of shelf space they take up, haha!).  He doesn't really seem interested in my life before I met him. He's interested in who we are now, today. Which I appreciate is probably wise, without feeling able to totally 'get'. I suppose dwelling on the past doesn't really help you move forwards, so I know I probably have some more letting go to do.  Which scares me, and I'm not quite sure why. Maybe because stories from the past seem more interesting than the current moment, even though I know we look back on things with rose-tinted glasses. Maybe because to me, letting go reduces the value of something, or someone. But perhaps that isn't true either.

I'm considering writing a memoir about my time growing up in Zambia. Partly because I don't want to forget. Maybe once I've done that, I'll feel more able to let go? Is that a good reason to write something?

I don't know. As with many things there probably isn't a wrong or right and it's probably about finding some sort of elusive balance.  Other people might get overly caught up in the future, in worrying or dreaming or making extensive plans (or all three) and missing out on the present in the process.  Then again maybe we need the mixture of historians and prophets and the right-here-right-now-ers.

It's not easy, this BE-ing present in the present. Not at all. I think for me it requires more intentionality rather than drifting along, including being still on purpose, and being OK with who I am and where I am today.

How about you? Where do you find yourself dwelling?

PS I know I went a bit off track but Hooray for the newlyweds, I'm privileged to be/have been a part of their lives :-)

PPS This is my 701st blog post. MAD.

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