It was set to be the summer of love. Four weddings! Two celebrity friends (oooh!), one director at The Big Bang Theory, and one of my closest couple friends, Chad Jamian and Chanel Cross.
Four weddings! And a long term boyfriend who likes weddings, but probably hates the things that go through my head at weddings. These range from, “Why doesn’t he look at me like that?” to “Do I look at him like that?” to “Are we going to make it if we don’t look at each other like that?!”
Wedding #1 was comedienne Iliza Shlesinger and her now husband Noah. It was classy and super fun, even though I was really depressed before I went and was afraid I wouldn’t make it because I am so socially anxious and I felt so yucky and bad about myself. But it ended up being great! Super good.
Wedding #2 was Nikki who works as our 2nd AD at TBBT and has directed some episodes as well. She and her now hubby Jude had this lovely garden wedding and it was so tender and sweet. I was getting over bronchitis so I didn’t stay late (chill, neck, coughing, you get the picture) but it was just so so nice.
Wedding #3 was Kaley Cuoco’s and you’ve seen the pictures; it was just stunning and exciting and there were dogs and horses and amazingness. It was really really special!!!
Wedding #4 was one I was asked to officiate less than a week before the wedding. I was secretly hoping all along this would happen…and it did. I prepared with dedication. I slaved over the introduction and welcome. It was a Jewish couple who wanted Jewish ritual and that was so much fun to write about and prepare. A ketubah was signed. It was so intimate and gorgeous. I cried when I wrote the blessing I gave them. I almost cried when I gave it. It was such a pleasure. A true blessing to witness and be a part of.
But something happened in between all of these weddings. There was a funeral. Yes, a funeral. Four weddings. And a funeral.
We lost from this world the beloved wife of a man who is part of my extended work family. It was tragic and horrible and sent everyone into shock. How does the world keep spinning when there is such a loss? There was a memorial and a funeral. And tears and rage and fear and sadness beyond compare. That kind of loss cracks your heart wide open. How much hurt can one family handle?
And so wedding #3 was so many emotions. Joy and elation and also rage and sadness and confusion. This is truly our world and our existence. If you believe in a Gd that is “good” all of the time, prepare to be disappointed. Prepare to hate Gd and religion. Prepare to become the person who wants to believe but can’t.
Because Gd is not simply “good.” Gd and the Universe have a rhythm and a quality beyond our understanding. Tragedy and comedy. Destruction and bliss. Loss and gain. These things are inseparable, as this funeral in the midst of 4 weddings has shown me. We all have to get up every day and face life. Sometimes there will be joy and sometimes there will be pain. You won’t always get a warning.
When I think of this summer, that’s how it feels. White and white and dress after dress and hairdos and lipstick and bowties and laughter. And also the blackness of the coat I wore to each wedding with red shoes to brighten my existence. The tears I cried, afraid to go to a wedding full of people I didn’t know (#1). The struggle to be getting over being really sick but still wanting to be there for wedding #2. The elation and excitement of my castmate’s new life with her wonderful husband (#3). The feeling of warmth and love for a couple I feel are my siblings; that’s how close I am to couple #4.
For those of us with religious leanings, everything is a lesson. In letting go, in holding on, in being present, in being grateful, and in being angry at a Gd who doesn’t let me call the shots. Because I wouldn’t have had it play out this way, this loss. I would have done it differently and I am angry. And also, I am full of the love 4 couples shared this summer as they made a formal legal commitment to each other. I was lucky to witness all of these vows, all of this joy, and all of the bliss.
One life. No dress rehearsal. Drink the good wine. Or grape juice. Be present. Be grateful. Pursue the love that is there to take while it is there for the taking.