There are few things I have experienced in my life that can match a wedding’s ability to bring about such searing emotional highs and gut wrenching lows, and the closer you get to the action, the harder it hits you. This weekend I had the honor of being the ring bearer of my sister’s wedding, and I was about as close as you can get short of being one of the brides. The sight of my sister’s face that day, as she held her partner’s hand, will forever be burned into my mind in the best possible way.
Up until that point, my day had been a blur of rushed meals, hurried dressing, frantic phone calls, and wedding site set up, but at that moment, staring at my sister’s expression as she said her final vows, I felt all the lingering stress and exhaustion wash away like an etching in the sand under a rolling tide.
Most people know what pure joy looks like. You can see it in the face of a laughing child, a puppy when its owner has just arrived home, or even two lovers reunited after a long time apart. We see it simulated in movies, captured in pictures, and described in books. However, no matter how well you remember it, it pales in comparison to when you see it on the face of a loved one.
There’s a certain kind of smile meant for these special occasions. It is certainly not reserved, and far from merely content. Some might call it sunny, others breathtaking, but all would call it beautiful, even on the most humble of faces. It’s the type of smile that is too broad to be sealed by your lips, too energetic to be held up by your cheeks (at least not for very long), and the sheer radiance of it spreads from your mouth, bursts from your eyes, and exudes from your very being. It is the smile of the blissfully happy, the smile for when everything in your life feels right and you’re standing in the spot you’ve been traveling to for longer than you’ve even known you’ve been walking.
That was the smile that I saw on my sister’s face that day, and I swear on my life it’s not a smile I’m likely forget. A smile like that is a symbol of everything that day stood for, and hopefully an omen for the days and years she and her partner will spend together, and I am immensely grateful to have been present for it.
Even two weeks later, that image still dominates my memory.