"Your power to change the world is your power to change your mind about the world." ~Marianne Williamson talking to Oprah
I woke this morning grumpy. Last night's dreams were interrupted by long periods of wakefulness. I've been sick with a stomach flu that won't go away.
But mostly, I'm just angry with the world.
Or rather, angry with MY world.
Because yesterday, I watched clips of the Royal Wedding.
I'm not much of a royal watcher, though I live in the Commonwealth. I wept at Diana's death and became enamoured with her post-mortem.
I periodically watch The Crown.
But mostly, my royal watching is of the "oh, look. The adorable baby prince and princess is on the cover of People" variety.
Until yesterday when I began watching clips of the wedding and couldn't turn away.
Has a groom ever looked at his wife such naked love? Has a wife ever reached for her husband's hand so consistently, as if it's the only thing that will keep her rooted on earth? Has a couple ever been so perfect for one another?
A wave of sadness.
My own wedding was beautiful. My dress not unlike Meghan Markle's, though significantly less couture.
I woke that sunny morning with the teensiest sense of cold feet. Was I ready for this commitment? Was I absolutely certain?
I fought the unease in my stomach. I've never loved being the center of attention so I attributed some of my discomfort to that.
I knew, though, that I needed to see my husband-to-be. I felt certain that once I could look into his brown eyes and see the love there, that I would be okay.
He, however, was in another town, waiting for the wedding to begin.
He was also fighting the mother of all hangovers, courtesy of a groomsman who had been ordering doubles all night for my mostly tea-totaller of a husband.
But I didn't know that.
I knew only that I needed to see him.
I arrived at the church. Someone cued the organist to begin playing Pachelbel's Canon in D.
With my mother on one side, my father on the other, I walked down the aisle toward my husband who...wouldn't look at me.
I panicked, desperate to catch his eye.
His eyes fixed on the ground.
The stories swirled in my brain. He doesn't want this. He's having second thoughts. Oh god, what am I going to do? Should I do the dirty work and say "no" at the alter and save him from this? From me?
No matter that he had expressed zero doubts about this prior to this moment.
I was convinced that he didn't want to marry me.
I got to him and he took my hand, still refusing to meet my eyes.
I stood there in abject terror that he was going to say no.
What would I do?
The wedding went off without a hitch. When we finally had a moment where I could whisper to him, "why won't you look at me", he whispered back: "I think I'm going to be sick. I drank too much."
When I later got the whole story, I was livid with the friend who did this.
But I also realized that the stories I was telling myself were fiction.
We change the world when we change our minds about the world, Marianne Williamson tells us.
She might be talking about big change, like feeding the hungry and housing the homeless and embracing the disenfranchised. But she's also talking about change on a much more personal level. She's talking about changing the way we perceive the world – as a fundamentally good safe place or a fundamentally unsafe bad place. When we see it as fundamentally good, we keep our hearts open to the beauty of it. When we see it as fundamentally bad, we close our hearts.
Either approach is, of course, a story we tell ourselves. The world has both good and bad. I contain both good and bad. And, I have learned since my wedding day, so does my husband.
In the early days post D-Day, I thought I would never feel joy again. The world had become dark and I expected it to remain so.
It was only when I could change my mind that the world changed for me. The light began to seep through the cracks.
Today, the darkness comes and goes, but mostly goes.
My anger today is, of course, a mask for the sadness I'm feeling about the ways in which my own marriage hasn't lived up to my expectations of it, to my hopes. I've learned the hard way that pushing that sadness away sends it underground until it reappears. As resentment, a lack of self-care, poor sleep.
I'm going to wish the best to the Royal Couple. I'm going to hope that the love they feel for each other on their wedding day continues to grow. I'm going to hope that neither betrays their vows to each other.
And I'm going to let this sadness wash over me until my faith in myself, my husband and my marriage is restored anew.
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