Saturday, July 11, 2009

Coming & going

Coming & Going
Mixed Media on Matte Board
8" x 8" matte, 3.75"x 4.5" image
$25 including shipping in North America

Today was a beautiful sunny, warm day here, warm enough for sleeveless dresses without goosebumps, not an everyday event in this part of the world.  A perfect day for an wedding on the lawn, a Buddhist wedding no less.  About 70 of us gathered on the lawn of a housing co-op for the wedding of some young friends.  The Buddhist ceremony was presided over by my friend, the Buddhist monk.  It was short and not just sweet, for it touched on the truth and reality of relationships.  It acknowledged that there is sukkha and dukkha.  It didn't go for the hearts and flowers bride magazine approach to marriage and ignore the fact that relationships require work and that they are not always easy. For me it is kind of like the first noble truth.  Buddhism acknowledges the existence of suffering to prepare us for the inevitable event of when suffering pops by for a visit.  In this case bride and groom were reminded of the reality of the work and patience and perseverance required to sustain true relationship.  No basking in diamond ring sound bites and cruise ship honeymoon brochures here.  

Of course there was the joyful aspect of the sharing of love as symbolized by the single candles that bride and groom carried and then used to light a larger candle.  And I loved this line from the ceremony delivered by our monk: " I am witness to the sincerity of their intention to live together in their search for Truth, and to offer the merit of this union for the welfare of all beings."  Later the bride and groom said together: "We are marrying so that we may purify our bodies and minds, and help one another be successful, each in our own way.  We pray that the merits of our relationship shall be used for the benefit of our family and all living beings."  What a great sentiment that their love is not just confined to the couple but to "all living beings."  It speaks to the fact that real love is more than our Western idea of "romantic love".  It was a lovely day that ended with a pot luck meal and some very touching words by their family and close friends.  

That was the coming part of the day, this delightful pair coming together, friends and strangers coming together to witness and celebrate their commitment to each other.  The "going" came to me as an email.  A short note from "Bunny the Cat's" owner to say Bunny passed away last night at 2 am., a note to let us know and to thank us for the love we had extended toward Bunny over the 11 month period she lived with us.  Quite shocking and surprising that just one month after she left us, she is gone from this earth.  We had planned to visit her in a couple of weeks when we will be in Vancouver.  And really it is beyond understanding.  I won't even try.  But just to acknowledge that it is sad and say a little prayer for Bunny and her owner.  And the thing that comes to mind in all of this is that "something greater is working itself out."  Always and in all things.  I say this as sheet lightning spreads across the dark night sky.

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