We just attended a family wedding in Atlanta. And it was the kind of rare family event that stays with one for a lifetime.
Not only a joyous commitment of two young people to one another, it was a glorious coming together of a wide spectrum of diverse people, cultures, sexuality, ages, and religions as they gathered together to form a new family. The biracial celebration in the bride’s native city drew a rainbow of more than 250 family members and friends.
In Vermont, we like to imagine ourselves open and welcoming to all, but on the rare occasions when we’re tested, we too often come up short, betraying our professed belief systems. We have our share of racially motivated incidents, documented police and prosecutorial profiling against people of color, and disproportionate incarceration of non-whites. At a time when it’s become politically commonplace to openly inveigh against people of color and nontraditional life choices, while extoling the virtues of white nationalism, the wedding offered a welcome opportunity to celebrate our common humanity together.
It was held in an art gallery. The minister from Boston spoke eloquently about the couple’s need to “curate” their relationship, reminding them that their mutual happiness will occasionally be displaced by sadness, that their love for one another will sometimes suffer anger or, worse, boredom… and that throughout their lives they must cultivate and nurture their love for one another.
It was clear to all that the minister’s guidance to the bride and groom could easily be seen as a metaphor for humanity writ large. And just being there reminded me that the fundamentals of humanity persist everywhere, even as events conspire against humankind’s innate desire to live together in peace.
And I found myself feeling profoundly grateful that so many had weathered the east coast storm to gather in Atlanta - from Tuscany, London, Brussels, and all over the U.S. to join in celebration of the uniting of our two families… into one.
If only everyone busily promoting strategies to draw racial lines of demarcation and further separate us from one another could have been there to see how life works when it’s at its best.