tran-scen-dent:

 extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience

We knew there was fun to be had. After all, the bride had been thrown a lingerie shower with an Elvis impersonator and had a bachelorette party at a drag club.  We had braced ourselves for bittersweet as well, because her mother, who was supposed to escort her down the aisle, had died this past spring.  She had been a friend to almost everyone there and so we expected tears, our own as well as the bride’s.

What we did not expect was how all the words about love would ring with such authenticity as if hearing them in new way.  Oh, sure there were bushels of romantic love. Romance was a given.  After all, the bride’s mother had engineered the match by asking her co-worker (and potential son-in-law) over to help move a heavy birdbath and, by chance, meet her lovely daughter. Kismet was alive and well in South Austin that day and the rest is history.

The wedding couple was so glow-y, they could have been used as an energy source. The young couple’s young friends glowed because they were happy, too and well, so young.  But even the aging boomers had a beneficent glow about us and it had started before the bar was even open.

That other Love; the kind that encompasses friend and foe alike and goes on forever and connects us all was in play.  We were in it up to our armpits and had no control over its presence or affect on us.   It was just there.  And we knew it because we kinda talked about it in roundabout ways at first and then a bit more directly.  Like people who’ve just seen something rare and don’t want to frighten it away or who don’t want to be mistaken for being mushy old coots.

It occurred to us that we were gathered here because of the love of one person for her daughter and for us; her motley collection of friends, co-workers and family.   She had cherished her child and her friendships and made life rather lovely for all of us.  She did this without a lot of time, very much money or particularly good health.  She did it because she wanted to and because it was, well, fun.   Even those among us who do not reach out much to others were encompassed for decades in a social network that rocked, rolled and toddled merrily along.   Beyond the accident of birth, she created a family of friends who sustained her and who felt special just because we knew her.

Many in the wedding party had gathered 8 months before in a favorite Tex-Mex restaurant to remember her and comfort each other with laughter and good food.   There, some of us met others for the first time after hearing the others’ names for years.   Reconvening at the wedding reminded us that this kind of love not only goes on, but may pop out yet again at the best possible moments.

As the evening progressed, the emotionally constrained among us finally looked each other in the eye (after a beverage or two) and said “transcendent” without irony or pretense or embarrassment, which is a pretty big deal.  We said it to each other the next day, too.

The spell still held.