Wednesday, September 27, 2006

An unmixed blessing

Words can't describe how happy I am for Bina and her new husband, Asher, and how gloriously beautiful their wedding was. It wasn't the most expensive wedding I've ever been to -- in fact, it may have been the least expensive, since I've been to some real Platinum Weddings -- but it was the most purely joyous.

Both Bina and Asher, her husband, are older singles like me, and the youngest siblings in large families. In attendance were their siblings, numerous nieces and nephews -- some of whom are themselves married with kids -- many other relatives, and a plethora of friends. There have been weddings where I was very sad I wasn't the bride, especially when she was 10 or more years younger than I am. But last night was just so wonderful because they each FINALLY found their soul mate, and their families and friends were just so happy. The joy in the room was palpable, and I felt it embrace me. Even today, writing about it, I'm on the verge of the tears of joy I shed in abundance last night.

My knees are killing me, because I could not restrain myself from dancing at least a little bit. I ended up doing the Macarena at one point because I wanted to dance before the kallah and needed something low-impact (although you'd be surprised how well "Yidden" can be modified into a non-bouncy version). Apparently I made an impact, because the chatan's nieces started doing the Macarena with me, and as I was leaving, a total stranger hugged me and said, "You're the life of the party!" (Thank Gd she didn't say "Im yirtzeh HaShem by you...")

Bina looked stunning and radiantly happy. Asher looked a little pale and anxious, at least until he stomped the glass under the chuppah. (Of course, he'd been fasting all day, and since the wedding got a late start, he must have been ravenous.)

As I did at the last wedding I attended, I davened while they were under the chuppah. In addition to asking for -- demanding -- shidduchim for me and several friends, I asked that a friend of mine who recently lost a pregnancy have a healthy baby. Focusing on others' needs is a good distraction from your own.

I also asked to become less judgmental and more forgiving. I think that a lot of my issues stem from feeling unappreciated and cheated -- I'm being ignored/slighted, other people are getting what I want and I'm not. Or people demand more of me, while others get away with doing less. Putting others down is an attempt to make myself feel superior to them: despite how they treat me, I'm better than they are.

This is not making me happy. I need to let go of this rancor and resentment. I think that if I become less critical and more inclined to give others the benefit of the doubt -- to blame them less, and attribute their actions more to situational factors that I might not be aware of -- I will ultimately spend less time in a foul mood, and that's got to help my overall emotional state.

I also think I should deliberately partake more of the selfish joy of giving.

Helping Bina with various tasks in the months and weeks before her wedding filled me with such joy and pleasure. Putting stamps on invitations is not intrinsically fun -- although there is a calming Zen element in the repetitious movements -- but helping her get the invites out in a timely manner? Amazing. Planning her bridal shower, helping her construct day-before and day-of lists of things to do, giving my opinion on everything from the shoes to the veil to the engagement ring (and remember, I have pages and pages of links to all of these items) -- everything I did for her filled me with profound joy, because it made her life easier and better. And that's how I need to approach more aspects of my life. The more I am able to give, the more pleased with myself I can be. I don't need to think of it as being taken advantage of. It is a sign of my strength and my generosity that I can extend myself on behalf of others.

Of course, I recognize a streak of narcissism in this: I was the primary organizer of her bridal shower and her to-do lists because I'm the BEST organizer; the successful shower and the accomplishment of everything on the lists proved that. I helped her pick the perfect bridal shoes because I know the most about bridal shoes. But I think that I have to work with my limitations, and try to turn them into strengths.

Last night, when I told Asher what a beautiful wedding it was, he said, "We couldn't have done it without you." Most of me realizes this wasn't strictly true, but it was still a jolt of joy to hear it.
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad that your friend's simcha brought you so much joy as well. :)

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