April 19, 2011 by David Gillaspie
Just Add Kindness
America the beautiful lives on an Alabama bayou.
Don’t let the spacious skies fool you; the weather service gave a tornado warning.
You won’t find amber waves of grain near the gulf. What you will find are friends and family celebrating a wedding, the one you wish you’d had.
Put yourself in the middle of every best wish on your special day.
You’ve seen that, maybe done that. It’s different in lower Alabama.
Were you married on grounds so beautiful it seemed sprinkled with Disney magic, except real people lived there and built it?
Did your wedding include mention of a local alligator cruising the bayou?
Since no one had a peg leg and small dogs roamed the banks, the gator knew how to behave.
The wedding began with children leading the way down a sweeping stone path toward the water where the commanding officer stood ready on his ship’s altar.
Was your ceremony outdoors on the water on a clear warm day, but not too warm? That hardly ever happens.
The Captain began with a call to order before the bride and groom. Guests stood on higher ground.
After answering questions of intent and making a promise worth keeping, the Captain held a clear glass jar and explained what it was for.
The bride and groom each poured sand into the jar. In the reception line each guest took a packet of sand, unfolded it, and poured the sand into the jar.
Did you do anything symbolic to cement your union? It takes more than a ring.
No one blames the wedding industry for creating false expectations between people when the rest of their lives together fails to compare to a fairy tale wedding day. What do you get when you rent a tux to stand in a rented church in rented shoes?
A rental wedding.
Instead, find the kindest man in your family and take a clue. Kindness. Ask him if you can be married at his house. Make it real.
The family and friends who gather to witness will remind you of the day so often that the hard parts of marriage will play against the spirit of your wedding. The harsh realities of marriage soften with memories of the wedding day.
If you can, get married on land that withstood Hurricane Ivan and Katrina and the mess of the gulf oil spill. Do it surrounded by folks who know what it means to try and get it right.
Even though an Alabama bayou doesn’t run through Vermont or Montana, Oklahoma or Oregon, and you won’t find anyone as gracious and kind as the Captain, try to get it right.
Make your marriage a thing of wonder from the get-go.
Give those who will follow the tradition hope.
Use this recipe: mix equal parts heart and soul with as much kindness as you can fit into every day.
Use the ingredients to rub people the right way. It’s as easy as B and A.
By David Gillaspie