New beginnings

Noah on the couch (with his cute paws folded)

Noah on the couch (with his cute paws folded)

Thank you everyone for the blessings and wonderful wishes for Tom and Lindsay’s wedding. It was better than I could have imagined,… in every way (and I will be posting a picture when I get them).

Possibly every family has a couple of members who are not easy around each other, and I am no exception, but I made a decision that I was going to be open and welcoming to everyone, including the two who, judging from past experience, have been more of a challenge. When we first saw each other at the rehearsal dinner, they averted their eyes and looked like they wanted to escape, but I knew that if I was going to feel peace during the events (and after) I needed to look past this. I thought that maybe if I extended a genuine welcome (which I really was feeling), told them that I was so happy that they had come, it would be the needed opening. They were cordial.

The wedding was like stepping into a fairy tale. All of  Lindsay and Tom’s hard work and planning had paid off and even the weather cooperated. It felt like we were being carried on the wings of Love. Even the air seemed like it was so full of joy that it would burst with happiness.

Before the dancing began, I got in line for the bathrooms and as I looked out to the beautiful lawn I saw the two family members walking away from the wedding, heading toward the cars. My first thought was, “No, you can’t leave yet! Don’t you at least want to try to say something nice to me? Anything?…like, “Beautiful wedding, or this is such a special day for Tom and Lindsay, you must be so proud”, or anything nice, kind, or open?”

As I stood in that line, I had the realization that I was at a crossroads. These people, that I had tried to please for so much of my life, didn’t want to be involved with me; they didn’t even want to say hello or goodbye. I’d known it for a long time, had always felt this, but I also always believed that I could do something, should do something, to change it, to make them see me differently.

I watched them leave, and wondered if I should go after them, and a small voice inside said, “No. Let them go. They have their own choices to make, their own lives to lead, in the way they choose. Now, you need to choose.” I don’t quote much scripture (from any religious tradition) but the words that came next were:

“I set before you life and death. Choose life.”

In that moment, I  knew that I could turn one way and follow them, try to convince them to stay, to make-up, to forget the past and begin again with me, or I could turn the other way, and re-join a wedding that filled my heart with Love. …a place that was celebrating Life, Love, and a Grace-filled new beginning.

I let them go, and as I watched them walk away, I could feel that they were also just a mirror of me: the small part of me that is still walled off, still afraid of getting my feelings hurt, still afraid that I am not getting enough, or the right kind, of attention.

But I also saw that this wasn’t the biggest part of me…it was a remnant. They are still a part of the quilt that makes up my life; the millions of little patches, threads, and beads that move from center to periphery, from large to smaller pieces, some from small to larger, all in a way that I could not possibly orchestrate, all in utter, incomprehensible, perfection.

As I walked back to the wedding, I could feel what can only be described as a blossoming inside my heart. I saw my son and his new wife beaming, laughing, surrounded by family and friends…and I felt that patch of the quilt that once only said, “Tom”, grow and expand to “Tom and Lindsay and the new family that they are beginning to create”.

…and I could see another little patch begin to take form…it wasn’t quite on the quilt yet but I could feel him or her somewhere very close, and the thought flooded me with goosebumps. It is all perfect.

“Don’t look further for answers: be the solution. …Make a promise to stop getting in the way of the blessing that you are. Take a deep breath, remember to have fun, and begin”Jonathan H. Ellerby

30 thoughts on “New beginnings

  1. Mary! So happy for you and your family! Sounds like such a beautiful day and evening. I love the little blossoming moment you felt in your heart imagining a new “patch” to the family quilt! Seeing the party poopers (sorry!, just cannot imagine walking away without a proper thank you and goodbye!) I think you handled that moment perfectly. You did everything you could when they arrived to greet them genuinely and warmly. Whether with time, there will be change is sort of out of your hands. But we can treat others as we would wish to be treated, and the rest is not for you to worry about. Glad you didn’t let it get to you!

  2. A big thank you for sharing the wedding and your thoughts with us. It feels good to connect with you and with the group after a bit of time has elapsed. It’s like now – all is well with our world – as we are united again.

    Your words and experience will be meaningful to all of us. To not take on other people’s “stuff” or try to convince them of our goodness is something that most of us deal with. You have put it “out there” for all of us to look at with new eyes.

    So – a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to all!

  3. I love you mary…and all is well with you and yours. thanks for the wedding post, i’ve been waiting for it…

  4. Congratulations to all of you….. From “The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” ” they drew a circle that kept me out, but God and I were bound to win, cause we drew a circle that kept them in” YOU kept them in , so you are free…..regardless of their choices, the “gift” is for you. It was your moment. Love you guys!

    • Sandy, This quote sounded so familiar that I went upstairs to look at a box of poems I had cut from magazines in the 60s. I’ve had them in a cardboard shirt box all these years. This is what I found:

      “He drew a circle that shut me out-
      Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.
      But love and I had the wit to win:
      We drew a circle and took him In !

      From the poem ” Outwitted”
      ― Edwin Markham

      Don’t know which came first, but they are very similar. Through the years, this poem has come back to me when needed and has helped me attempt to draw the right circle.

      (As an aside, I ripped my big toenail off in the process of finding the poem . Off to the drug store for supplies.)

  5. Hi Mary, sounds like a wonderful wedding …

    “It felt like we were being carried on the wings of Love” …

    what a beautiful image/expression….
    thanks for sharing this most special day of days…
    Best Wishes to the bride and groom … and their loving family.

  6. …and blossom you did! Spreading your love and light and joy to all around you. Congratulations to Tom and LIndsay and to you and Jack! A very special time with very special people…such a sweet celebration and affirmation of Life…XOXO

  7. Mary, I cried when I read your post!!! It was such a happy day for you, and they could not give you the respect you deserved…but that is THEIR problem. I am glad you did not run after them…they showed up…did their family duty…you were wonderful in every way. They have problems that do not have to become yours. They were invited and should have been more gracious, happy, and respectful…they were not…that is their’s to own. I am so happy for you that you had a wonderful day in you friendly dress!!! Concentrate on the precious memories!!! Love to you and yours!!!

  8. Mary, What a beautiful wedding you’ve shared with us, we could vision the happy smiles and love. Congratulations to you, Jack and the beautiful memories you will treasure. I’m sure you ‘glowed’ with happiness!

    What a wonderful beginning for the happy couple, our very best wishes to your son and daughter-in-law for a life filled with good health, love and happiness.

  9. Dear Mary, thank you for sharing such a beautiful description of your son’s wedding day…and all the poignant moments it brought to everyone. You are blessed by not only the new beginnings of your son and daughter in-laws life together, but by the opportunities for growth and inner peace that their special day offered you. Bless you for seeking the high road and finding your own joy….sometimes our families are our greatest teachers.

  10. It’s far better that they left early than to stay and make a scene. You were right to do what was right for you and not to be trying to placate those who didn’t want to be placated.

    Nancy

  11. Mary, I am overwhelmed with loving thoughts for you and your family! I could almost feel the letting go you must have experienced when you chose life in that moment. Many blessings to you and you family as it expands out with ripples of love.

  12. Mary, so sorry that such a happy occasion for you had to have previous family tensions involved. In one of your recent posts, your talked about your family,
    and I was surprised at how much it sounded like my experiences with my family. It has gotten easier to just let it go. Getting older does have it’s benefits in that way. We just cannot please everyone, and if we try to we usually end up
    not being happy ourselves.

    I’m sure the wedding was lovely. Congratulations to all!

    Donna

  13. Thank you for sharing this lesson. I have a difficult relationship with a neighbor next door. He and his wife shun me every time they see me out and about. They wanted a trellis between our two porches taken down even though it had been there before they moved in 3 years ago. Nasty words over the fact that I held my ground and said that it had nothing to do with them personally…just a bit of privacy for me sitting out with my dog who sometimes wants to go over onto their section. They forced a board meeting over the issue and my right to have the trellis was upheld. Hence the animosity. I have tried to speak to them on occasion but to no avail. I finally said to myself that I could not force them to believe my good intentions and actions. I decided that I just have to honor their feelings and stop trying to force them to accept me (and my trellis!). I have many friends in the circle whom I enjoy and they enjoy me (and my dog!_) Thanks for the affirmation. I will rest in the thought that I can let them be who they are.
    Beth

    • Dear Beth,
      What a great way to frame your neighbor’s attitude! To honor their feelings and go on with yours. Masterful!
      Who among us has not been in this type of situation where no matter what you do, either you or the other party will feel injured. Thanks for a calming solution.
      From Fran

      • For sure, Fran. I find myself in a ridiculous sitation where all parties believe they are right, and I totally understand it. There is never a way to prove that one’s thoughts or intentions aren’t what the injured party perceived, is there? We must find a way to make our own peace with it and move on, though perhaps with a little sadness. As I always say, the story isn’t over yet. You helped me with your post, too, Beth. “They” can be who they are and I have the peace of knowing I have not a thing to prove… and couldn’t if I tried.

  14. Mary, isn’t it interesting that in the midst of all that happiness, two negatives were brought together within such a beautiful moment and through all that you still had the insight to recognize and go through your thought processes to share them here with us. It’s about not feeling rejected by people who are on their own agenda of negativity and likely past issues of anger. Nothing you can do about it but like you, I would have felt the same initial feeling of anxiety and wanting to do something to correct it. You can’t please everyone, can you.
    SandyP in Canada

  15. Mary, your words were just what I needed today! Thanks for what you feel, and your message today, are sent to me. Thanks! Love Lillian.

  16. Yes, your sharings today find me dealing with a similar circumstance – so hard to let go and stop the yearnings. But I will reread this as I make my way there.

  17. Dear Mary,
    I’m so happy your family day was beautiful and your decision about the leave takers allowed a peaceful solution and avoided conflict!
    Congratulations and continued best wishes to your entire family,
    Love from Fran
    PS Noah’s picture along with your message makes my day!

  18. The quilt analogy is beautiful.

    My daughter was married last year and I love the image of the quilt patch growing and expanding with a new family.

    Thanks for the insight about people we wish we could please, but can’t. I have recently been rejected by someone I felt was a friend and I’ve spent a lot of time worrying and trying to figure out the right words to make her like me again. Maybe this is just a minor piece of my life quilt that illustrates my fear of rejection, but doesn’t dominate the whole picture. I can go on an focus on the happier parts.

    Susan

  19. Beautiful, Mary. Thank you. What an excellent and memorable example of your decision and follow through of one stopping “getting in the way of the blessing that is you.” I am glad for you. And glad for me to have your inspiring examples.

  20. So beautiful and inspiring, Mary~ this may be one of your best writings, ever. Your from-the-heart descriptions painted the whole scene… and the golden glow around it. Thank you for sharing the joy of that day, and wishing your family all the wonder of their new journey together. 🙂

  21. So glad to hear that your wedding was full of beauty and love. I’m happy that you chose to stop tugging on some old thread from the past and decided to be in the fullness of the present, welcoming whatever is ahead.

  22. Dear Mary,
    I am so happy for you and your immediate family. I too tried to reach out to some family that have never accepted me and believe untruths but than God showed me that how happy I am and all the blessings he has bestowed on me and my immediate family. This treatment of me is the same way her mother treated my mother all their lives. So I just now ask God to bless them and to enjoy my very happy blessed life.

  23. Thanks for sharing what was the most perfect and beautiful day. I’m so happy all went well and, about that other thing, glad you were able to let it go and continue to enjoy this so special occasion.
    Others will like us, or not like us, we can’t make them feel any other way if they have made up their mind. It’s out of our control and in God’s hands. If we are loving and giving despite what others do and say to, or about us, we always come out as winners!
    Can’t wait to see the photos!!! Love and hugs, Marian

  24. Very happy for your new family. My husband and I married 50 years ago July 6th and we celebrated with family and friends this year. I wish this for your son and new daughter-in-law.

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