The Other Half of the Story

This photo, of my groom and me lighting our unity candle, turned out so lovely that it was used as a sample by the photographer.  This “pic of a pic” (a proof, no less) doesn’t do it justice, but the candlelit ceremony was beautiful.  The banks of purple mums and stained glass added just enough color.  That moment– the moment when the two flames join and unite– is SO special and symbolic.  Many, many couples cherish that moment:

And there we were, so in love, hearts pounding as we stood side-by-side.  The moment– captured forever on film.  Our moment– shown in the photographer’s studio for other young couples to see and imagine.


Ah, but that’s not the whole picture.  No, indeed.


Here’s the second half of the story:

You see, for whatever reason, our big fat candle– you know the UNITY part of the whole trio– would not light.  We tried.  Oh, how we tried.  But it just would.not.take.  My young husband (well, not quite yet, I guess), bless his heart, just kept trying.  He kept giving me sidelong glances and, finally, I whispered to him, “Just leave it.  Don’t worry about it.  Let’s move on.”


Later, I found out that that was a very telling moment for him.  He said that he was so glad that I had responded that way, and that he’d been afraid I might break down, cry, and be devastated. But I didn’t.  Even way back then, I knew that this was all just ceremony… whether a candle lit or not was no reflection on the future of our union.


But I think it’s very telling, don’t you?


Those young couples in the photographer’s studio have NO idea how that story actually played out.  They just see the “pretty”, the “perfect”, the “ideal”.  The stark reality?  Well, that’s all kept from their view…


And so it is in life, my friends.  It’s so easy to fixate on the pretty, perfect, ideal lives of others… to see their impeccable images and feel devastated at our failure to measure up.  We all do it.  It’s like we somehow FORGET that they, too, have another side to the story.


Well, there’s one of mine.  Now you know.


Life’s messy.  It’s not perfect.  But, still, even in its unplanned flaws… it is beautiful.


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