All the most private moments – birth and death, tragedy, accomplishment – seem so intimate. Not only does it feel as if they’ve never happened to anyone but you, in precisely the way you are experiencing them, but also it feels as though they are moments you must live through utterly on your own.
Why is that? Because the truth is these life-changing moments nearly always involve community: celebrating, sympathizing, supporting, crying, laughing or cheering us on.
And so, our community held us up last month as we celebrated our new marriage.
Let me tell you how community – and locally sourced -- this wedding was. It started out with invitations hand-crafted by artist/design friends. Other friends volunteered to gather flowers. Another contributed photography. Our guests fed us themselves – they brought potluck to add to the food and drink we provided. Food is one of the greatest ways people connect, and I loved seeing the many dishes our friends contributed. A trifle with berries and peaches picked by my sister and niece! A favorite chicken dish with homemade pasta! And TWO wedding cakes: one that I know ate up hours of weekend and late night planning and testing turned out to be a masterpiece of crunchy meringue layered with tangy apricot, a sweet almond cake that was dense and light at the same time, topped with rich buttercream and organic – yes organic – white roses. The other was equally meaningful, with a history involving seven generations of Myers women on my side of the family – well, eight, if you count Clara Dodd, the daughter who baked it!
Our children and friends did a yeoman’s job of helping with last-minute details, making signs for trash cans, making sure the stereo system was working, picking up food and wine, toting potluck paper plates and cutlery, and cleaning it all up when we were finished. And contributions continue, as guests share their photos with us in the best ways, on line and in beautifully crafted collections.
Then there was family who came hundreds of miles to join us, surrounding us by a sense of rootedness that only family can provide, siblings and their children and their grandchildren, reminding us of where we come from and where we are going.
Even the larger community contributed: the folding chairs for the ceremony were borrowed from the local church. The flowers were from the Takoma Park Farmer’s Market a few blocks away. The sound system was set up by the local music guru, whose friendly face is familiar to anyone who’s attended a Takoma Park Street Festival or an IMT concert at the Community Center, or shopped at the House of Musical Traditions. Organization help came from JudyTiger, a friend who once ran the community gardens in D.C. and who took time out of her organizing business to pitch in. Some of the food came from Middle Eastern Market, and we held the event at the Cady Lee House, a landmark Victorian home restored by one of the leaders of Historic Takoma and now used as office space for a community youth support organization.
But most of all, we had friends and family all around us, so that whenever I turned there was someone to help out, or just share the moment, and share the joy. Heartfelt thanks must go out to everyone who launched us into our very happy marriage.
To be surrounded by such a loving community was the best way to share this most intimate moment.