Allow me to set the scene:
It’s May in Milwaukee. After the challenging year of planning a wedding from out of state while also juggling work and school, it was finally Victoria + Frank’s wedding day. The sun was shining, and that familiar spring chill was in the air. After a morning of preparation, with surprises both good and bad, we set out with the bride + groom for some time away. Some time for photos, for reflection; to breathe deeply and center hearts and minds in preparation for the ceremony to come.
As the four of us drove through the streets of downtown, we saw a group of monks walking, and Frank made a comment about how much he’d love to take a photo with them. In an instant, Jayden was out of the car and running up to catch them, while I parked and helped Victoria out of the car with her billowing gown. By the time we walked to find Jayden, he had made conversation with the gentlemen and the guide that was with them, and we heard him say, “Would you be willing to bless this couple?” Yes, they said.
And so, before we had a chance to prepare, to get the settings right on our camera, to straighten Victoria’s train or wrap our heads around what was about to happen, it happened. The blessing. The monks asked Victoria + Frank to stand before them as they turned the city stairs into their alter, and out of their mouths came synchronous words and expressions. Words that we could not understand, but so pure and genuine. Their memorized chant was recited perfectly for seven or eight minutes. Hands clasped, tears streaming, Victoria + Frank’s wedding day had arrived, and it was blessed.
These images exist as such a powerful reminder to us; to seek out extraordinary moments, and to live in them while they are happening. Our society is so wrapped up in the world of technology that we spend our moments trying to hang onto them forever, instead of putting down our camera phones, forgetting about Instagram and learning to be here now. In doing this, we rob ourselves of the true experience.
In the book Just Kids, Patti Smith recaps the experience of living in New York City and rubbing shoulders with Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and others, and she writes, “I was there for these moments, but so young and preoccupied with my own thoughts that I hardly recognized them as moments.” I cannot even tell you how much I relate to that realization. How many moments in life do I look back on and realize, That was an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime moment, and I didn’t even think to live in it.
So here’s to the future. To putting my phone on silent, to holding hands with my love, to really enjoying that cup of coffee–and not just scarfing it down for the caffeine hit that it will result in, to taking photos, but also taking time to put the camera down.. Here’s to being in the moment, and letting yourself feel the pain and the joy that might be involved. Here’s to you, loves.
What moments are you going to be more deliberate about being present in? I’d love to hear them, and whatever they are, may you be blessed! xo