Today I’m heading home after a week-long cultural exchange experience. My muscles are sore, and I’m tired. But it’s a good tired, the kind one feels after finishing a long race in record time.
You may know that I have a very small family, no siblings, no parents, no aunts or uncles. I have a husband, a son, and a cousin, but not just any cousin. Kate is a sister-cousin, a “twin cousin.” We are 14 months apart in age and have never had fewer than 450 miles separating our homes, but our spirits have always intertwined such that intervals of time and space do not exist for us. We have always been together.
When her oldest daughter announced her engagement, I made plans to attend the wedding. Before long an idea emerged, an opportunity to immerse myself in a foreign culture. I volunteered for the Bridal Mission Trip. I would become one of the family for the five days leading up to the big event. And when I say big, I mean BIG … eight bride’s maids and a maid of honor … eight groomsmen and two best men … five flower girls … three ring security boys … and let’s not forget the bride and groom!
Since wishes were lofty and budgets limited, Can-Do Kate wore (and generously shared with me) many hats: Wedding Planner, Florist, Rehearsal Dinner Caterer, Reception Party Decorator (which included borrowing, laundering, and ironing linens for 18 huge tables). The morning of the wedding, still in our pajamas, Kate and I assembled 10 beautiful bouquets with white roses, poms, greenery, and tiny purple and blue orchid blossoms. I wired at least 70 of those delicate flowers, a skill I learned via You Tube video a mere ten minutes into my morning coffee.
The week was full of so many women working long days together to make it all happen. Kate’s home was Wedding Central, with every horizontal surface piled high with vases, flowers, ribbons, photos, tulle, wires, scissors, pens, paints, pliers, knives, candles, and shoes … so many shoes! I cooked and cleaned and did dishes, mountains of dishes. I designed and created the wedding programs while busily preparing a rehearsal dinner for 40. The rest of the details are a blur.
The take-aways, though, are crystal clear. I learned what Instagram is, installed it and posted my first photo. I learned about spray tans, eyelash extensions, and bustling a wedding dress train. I learned about submersible electric candles, floating candles, and acrylic paint pens that write on wine glasses. And I learned about the joys of service, offering my skills, energy, and love to make the dreams of some very special people come true. For an entire week, I was part of a female contingency that demonstrated unconditional love at a grassroots level. This past week, I felt the presence of Divine Spirit, Divine Love, and Divine Connection. Now I know the true meaning of the phrase, “God is in the Details.”
I am overflowing with gratitude for this unique, family-centered opportunity and my heart is singing with joy from the experience.