I recently had the honor of attending a family wedding in France. The groom was French and brought up in the Catholic tradition. The bride was born in California and raised in the Jewish tradition.
The family and friends from both sides assembled in a small town in the south of France and the celebration began. There was lots of food, wine, and joyous gatherings. The groom’s family exhibited the most amazing hospitality. Here is the interesting thing: It seemed perfectly natural that the French and the Americans were in the same place honoring the love of this beautiful young couple. Some spoke only English. Some spoke only French. Others had varying degrees of language learnings. It didn’t seem to matter. Somehow, we all found a way to connect and get to know each other.
The wedding ceremony was in two parts and was extraordinary. The first part was a civil ceremony in the office of the mayor. The families, friends and neighbors filled a room as the couple listened to the decree and signed the papers making their marriage official. There was an interpreter to make sure that the English-speaking attendees could understand what was being shared. The room was filled with smiles and we all felt that we were a part of something special.
Then, we all caravanned to a small Catholic church and witnessed magic. Four men brought in a chuppah. The officiants were two American women and a French man. The entire ceremony was an interlacing of Jewish and Catholic traditions, American and French, young and old, and readings honoring seven blessings for the marriage. Clearly, the couple wanted everyone to experience what was important to them and include all in their joy.
This entire experience opened in me a deep clarity about the true meaning of family. I believe that we are all here, on this planet, to honor, love and respect one another. We are here to remember that we are a part of the universal family, sharing our gifts and traditions to grow and bond. This wedding was such a clear example of universal love and connectivity. I do not believe that anyone could walk away from this experience with a closed heart.
I returned home reminded that I am called to share my love and my home with the same generosity as the French family that opened their hearts to us. I am challenging myself to reach out to my universal family through the ways that I speak and act in every moment.
I ask you, what have you done lately to connect with others from different walks of life? Have you activated a beautiful curiosity about others and dedicated yourself to sharing what brings you joy? I cannot think of a better time in history to break down the walls of separation and connect to the universal family. Join me!
Please affirm with me: I open my heart and invite in my universal family!