I promise, I will try hard to write a BRIEF description of my journey to Canada for a very Tribal wedding! And I know there’s a LOT of photos, but… well… too bad!
I started coming down with a cold a few days before I left. Of course. I didn’t feel very sick while I was away, due to the ingestion of copious amounts of cold medicine, but I’m sure this contributed to what became the worst bout of laryngitis I’ve ever had. I had basically no voice for a full 4 days, plus several days either side of raspiness. I could whisper, and I could speak hoarsely in a very low pitched voice, but that was it. I couldn’t even squeak for a few days! I wasn’t too bothered by not being able to talk (since when would that stop me?) but not being able to sing was VERY depressing. I’m still not back to normal, but close enough.
Nothing – not sickness, not impossible jet lag, not rain that fell ONLY on the wedding day – could detract from the inexplicable awesomeness that was the Tribe reunuion, and nothing could mar the perfection of a wedding that anyone (not just the completely biased, like me) would recognise as a truly wonderful event. I almost don’t want to tell you about it, because I know I won’t be able to explain it well enough. So let me try instead to capture a few of my favourite moments in words.
…Becky, Carmen, Christina, Daniel, Hannah, Jay, Jennifer, Leesha, Nathan, Tanya. It was so normal to be together again, and those who weren’t able to come were so obviously missing – the Beijing Urban Tribe lives on indeed!
…the joy of watching so many things pulled out of suitcases and passed along to others. We really are an international community :)
…Becky’s silence, slow walk, and seeming disbelief as she saw Christina standing in the international arrivals area of Vancouver airport. Then the sudden hug and the expected tears – on both sides.
…spending time with Becky’s Dad – and missing my own Daddy!
…disgusting eighties fashion victim outfits at the hens’ night. Really, it can be summed up in one word: EW!
…Jay leading our discussion group at church on Sunday – our group being all those in town for the wedding. Christina and I couldn’t help feeling jiejie pride as we watched our brother display in such a small and simple way what he was born to – lead, guide, shepherd.
…I wasn’t much help as others set up the church prior to the rehearsal – I’d hit a jet lag exhaustion, which combined with, well, everything, (not least of all the inability to sing!) to bring me to tears during church that morning. I felt awful, and I felt awful for feeling awful. Then I watched the church transformed, filled with candles – beribboned and be jewelled, in lanterns and in glasses and atop curled cast iron candelabras… it was beautiful. Then the screen came alive with, of course, a game! Jay and Becky prepared a little trivia about themselves and their relationship, to amuse their guests when they were waiting for the ceremony to start the next day. Perfect.
…the rehearsal dinner – yummy cocktails, delicious steak, luxurious dessert even I could not finish, and exquisite conversation with one of the best friends I have ever had.
…as soon as Becky saw Jay, all the stress and emotion and worry surrounding her simply melted away. She saw him, and he saw her, and everything was fine. That moment, more than anything, spoke volumes about why they belong together.
…bridesmaids clinging to groomsmen to keep them upright as 2+ inch heels slipped through the wet pebbles and sand of the beach (I bet the photos look fantastic!)
…the most perfect vows I think I’ve ever heard. If I was getting married I’d want the transcript so I could use them!
…We pray for Wendy– Becky and Jay…
…We pray for Jay and Wade– Jay and Becky…
…I present to you, for the first time, Jecky and Bay Whisnand…
…most of the bridesmaids and groomsmen stopping in at Tim Horton’s for coffee and donuts between the ceremony and the reception!
…the rounded glass end of the reception hall becoming a waterfall backdrop as rain fell steadily outside.
…absolutely amazing chocolate mousse cake (Erin, you are incredible!)
…my inability to say, in my clumsy, jet-lagged little speech, how amazing Jay and Becky are, as individuals and as a couple, and how much they mean to me. I gave up when I wrote their card. I wrote: “more than words”
And that’s what this trip was for me. More than words. I can’t express how much it meant to me to be there, at The Wedding, and with the Tribe. Christina said it best, as always – it was a lungful of air to a drowning man. It was hope to continue. I’ve been struggling lately – loving my job, loving my house, but feeling like I don’t belong anywhere in my current life, feeling disconnected from everyone I know and love. Seeing those people, being together with them, a remembrance of that group dynamic, hearing that so many of them have been feeling the same way… well, it breathed life into me. I have strength to walk a few more miles now.
I’m starting to think that the whole grace-for-today thing might well be this year’s lesson, so strength for a few miles is probably all I’ll ever have – and that’s okay, as long as I continue to trust that when I get to the end of that strength, more will be provided. If this weekend was a lungful of air, I’ve spent 6 months gasping for air, finding a mouthful every time I thought I couldn’t hold on any more. I think now I know I won’t ever drown, even if I have no idea where my air will come from…
1699 – my gmail contacts
816 – my facebook friends
397 – addresses on this mailing list (seriously?!)
95 – days so far without hot water (unlikely to return at all this winter…)
63 – days til I next go overseas (Australia)
18 – days til youth camp!
Winterbirth – Brian Ruckley
All American Rejects – Move Along
OneRepublic – Dreaming Out Loud
Zero 7 – The Garden
Stargate SG1 (always)