I was a guest at a wonderful wedding recently. A long-time Pakistani friend, the bride, got married to a young man of Irish Catholic heritage. The wedding took place here in Orange County.
What a delightful blend of cultures. The bride wore a traditional Pakistani wedding dress, with brightly colored red, orange flowers and elaborate designs on a blue background. The dress must have weighed 25 pounds. Most of the Pakistani guests wore saris, even some of the Irish Catholics wore them, and there were quite a few kilts in the mix.
But the wedding wasn’t about what people wore. It was about the acceptance of other cultures and ways of life from everyone there.
The short Catholic ceremony was accepting and inclusive of all those on both sides of the aisle, even those who didn’t share the same religion or held no religion at all.
I know the bride well – the groom just a little. I also know families are not perfect, but the level of acceptance and pure joy in the love of these two people was a wonderful thing to see.
We are all from different places in the world. Native Americans were here first, some people were brought by force, others escaping their own countries to come to this land of freedom.
Both the bride and the groom’s families came to the United States to start new lives at different times in our country’s history, both becoming successful at their respective occupations and contributing to our society, as most immigrants do.
Living in California, having moved here from the Midwest as I did, has its upsides and its downsides. The horrible traffic, the eternal sunshine, the lack of rain. But the upsides are plenty. And one of them is the diversity of people I’ve encountered and their acceptance. I remember years ago going back to the Midwest for a wedding, and the big concern was the groom’s ponytail! California had gotten over that years before.
At the reception after the wedding, I stood behind an elderly lady who was a relative of the groom. We were waiting in line to get henna put on our hands. I talked a little with her, and discovered she had been born in Dublin, Ireland. When it was her turn, she sat down, held out her hand and said,” Can you do a shamrock?”
The Pakistani woman didn’t even hesitate. “Of course,” she replied with a smile.
I thought that exchange summed up the day beautifully.
If only the world could put aside their petty differences, just for one day, and celebrate the real love and friendship that can exist between people. If only…