Last Friday, March 19, was when I started to really take the COVID-19 spread seriously. I had been loosely following it since late February because my parents were supposed to travel to Italy, but it wasn’t until the end of last week that the gravity of what was going on started to sink in.
Last Friday, my parents were driving to Austin for the wedding of the daughter of some dear friends. Upon learning that a guest had potential symptoms, they had to make a choice. Because my grandmother is currently in a nursing home in Dallas, and my mother visits her daily (that has obviously now changed), my parents made the heart-wrenching decision to come back home.
As I talked to my parents on their drive home, I remember feeling absolutely heartbroken for this bride. And the groom, the families, the vendors, and the other guests, of course! But especially for the bride. I don’t know why, necessarily. Maybe it’s because I just went through the process and so it hits close to home. Whatever the reason, I haven’t been able to shake that pit in my stomach ever since.
Let me pause for one second to make something very clear: There are so many people the COVID-19 spread has already affected, and there are so many people it has yet to affect before this is all over. Both in big, life-altering ways and in small ways. Livelihoods lost. Schools closed. Friends missed. Hospitals overwhelmed. I get dazed when I think about it all, and today I don’t want to go there.
It goes without saying that in the grand scheme of things, a postponed or changed wedding is not the direst thing happening right now. I certainly, certainly understand that. We all do. And as the wife of someone in the medical field, I am not tone-deaf to the sacrifices being made by those on the frontlines of this thing. In fact, I am in total awe of the brave individuals sacrificing their own wellbeing for that of others. And now and in the coming months, I am looking for ways to support my neighbors, my community, small businesses, healthcare workers, and everyone else affected by COVID-19. We all should be.
But today, on a day I usually reserve for wedding-related content, I just want to write a little note to one of the many people affected by this. Not because her loss is any greater or any less than anyone else’s, but because I was just her myself. And for some reason, I can’t stop thinking of her. To the bride who has had to change her wedding day in the wake of COVID-19.
Today, I wanted to take a second to write to you. To let you know you’re on my heart, you haven’t been forgotten, and whatever feelings you’re experiencing right now, sadness, fear, defeat or loss, they are valid. Today, I wanted to let you know that with each escalation and update, from low-key murmurs to mandated cancellations, my heart has continually sunk for you, and for what you are being asked to give up.
Today, while you watch your friends make the most of this time on social media… posting lighthearted memes, figuring out how to work from home, ordering takeout instead of dining in… you’re grappling with changing, postponing or canceling a dream you’ve most likely had for years and years. While many of us are trying to decide on a new Netflix series to start, you’re trying to come to terms with the fact that a special day you’ve been working towards for a while may look vastly different than you had hoped.
Today, I wanted to say I am sorry that in the midst of an already emotionally-packed wedding planning process, you’re being asked to handle not only more high emotions, but logistical chaos as well. Maybe moving or changing your wedding to accommodate this new season has been a breeze. But I have a feeling it hasn’t been that way for everyone. Finding a different date, coordinating with out-of-town relatives and guests, contacting each and every vendor, and trying to decide how on earth to celebrate in this new reality. I cannot imagine.
I do imagine you’re caught in a hard place right now. Maybe you feel guilty for being upset when there seem to be more important things happening right now. Maybe you feel sad that important people in your life won’t be able to stand by you on this important day. Maybe you feel overwhelmed at all the decisions you’re going to have to make for a second time. I can’t imagine exactly how you’re feeling, but I know you’re feeling a lot.
So today, in case no one has told you, I just want to say I am so sorry. I want to say that I recognize what you’re having to go through, and I wish more than anything that I could give you a big hug, sit on the couch with you over a bottle of wine and cry it out together.
And today, I want to promise you one final thing. Your day will come. It may look different than you had initially planned, but it will come. And not only will it come, but it will shine all the more brightly be all the sweeter because of what you walking through now.
Because here’s the thing: you are demonstrating what marriage, and what a whole wedding celebration, is really all about. Loving someone else more than yourself, no matter the cost. You are living out love, not just as an ideal, but as an action. Not the hollywood-crafted, romanticized, “happily ever after” kind of love. You are living out sacrificial love. And love that sacrifices for others is the truest, deepest, most perfect love there is.
And perfect love, even in the midst of global epidemics, canceled plans, financial instability and changed dreams, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:6)
So on behalf of every single one of us who are not walking in your shoes, I want to thank you. For making a unique, but no less important, sacrifice that many of us do not have to make in this strange season. For changing one of your dreams so that people you may never meet can continue to dream theirs. And for reminding us what true love is really all about.
I have a feeling all the people you’re loving by the choices you’re making right now can’t wait to return the love when they finally do get to celebrate you!
All my love,
On this “Wedding Wednesday” I’d love to encourage you to think of any friends you know who are having to change, postpone or cancel their day. Reach out with a call or text and ask how they’re doing. Send a little something to brighten their day that also supports small businesses, like fresh cookies from a local bakery, flowers from a local florist or maybe a hand-painted champagne bottle. Let’s let them know just how excited we are to celebrate them both now, and “officially” the second all of this is over.
Everyone, everyone, is in need of a little extra love these days, so let’s be on the lookout for ways to support one another during this time, shall we?
Sending all my love to the brides, the vendors, the mamas-turned-homeschool-teachers, the overworked medical staff on the frontlines, the small businesses, and every group who are making brave sacrifices during this time. We are all in this together.
Love from the Sunshine State,