Overcoming Fear

This weekend, Bill and I celebrated with friends as our Best Man married the love of his life.  It was a shame that 3/4 of our kids had cross country meets that we had to miss, requiring Grandma to come stay at our home while we ventured to the cities just the two of us.  Just a shame to have to spend 3 days shopping and hanging with friends.  ShameShameBoBameBananaFanaFoFame.

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The weekend would have been perfect if I had not been forced to be one of the readers in the wedding.  I couldn’t say “no” because I owe Troy my life.

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Back in the day, the summer before we were married so when I was 18, this group of lovely people decided to spend a long weekend at the Wisconsin Dells.  It was my chance to get to know the people Bill called friends.  The main event of this wonderful vacation took place in the wave pool.

Someone had a great idea of getting one of those double tubes that is made to hold maybe four people and filling it with all hundred of us.  Ok, I exaggerate a smidge.  We all piled on and the waves started rocking us back and forth and we were laughing and giggling and having a great time.  We were bouncing up and down, getting that tube completely airborne and then slamming it back down and howling with delight.  I don’t know how it happened, but after a little bit of that fun stuff, I suddenly felt myself submerged.  I obviously wasn’t alone in the plunge – bodies were flailing.  I was hit.  I was kicked.  It was violent.  After a little while immersed in water unable to move toward the top, I knew I was going to die when someone stepped right on me, actually stood right on me.  I knew it was over.  Then, like a shining knight in armor, a hand gripped me and pulled me out of the water.  It was Troy and he was saying, “SAVE THE SHORT PEOPLE!”  I looked around, still trying to figure out what had happened, seeing no one – not the friends, not MY BOYFRIEND who had decided to save himself, but only Troy.  I owe him my life.   

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So a couple months ago,  Troy called me and asked me to be a reader in his wedding.  What I said on the inside was, “Are you freakin’ nuts?  Don’t you know that I will be violently ill the entire day? Do you understand that I have a HUGE phobia of public speaking?  I would almost rather do anything.  ANYTHING!”  I volunteered to be the flower girl, but they already had one lined up.  I was stuck doing the reading because how do you say “no” to the guy you owe your life to?  I somehow managed to get myself the job and then had to directly go take a hot bath to relax.  If I was a drinker, it would have been a double bottle night.

I avoided the truth the rest of the time leading up to the wedding.  I didn’t hear from them, so I hoped that somehow, they forgot, and I was off the hook.  But no, when we got to the rehearsal,  they handed me the selection I was to read.  Fear gripped my stomach, and I could tell the next 24 hours would be sheer torture.  (Well, except for the hot tub time, the sleeping time, the REI shopping time, and the time spent in Ikea – those were all good times.)  I couldn’t deny reality, so I put on the dress clothes and even got as fancy as to put in my contacts.  I put eye liner not only on the top lid, but under as well.  This was me, going all out in the roll of reader, for Troy and Tracy.

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When my time came, I stood like I owned the place  (it was a public park, so I kinda do) and got my feet to carry me up to the microphone somehow.  I flipped the switch to “on” and started.  “This reading comes from The Art…”  It was pretty obvious the microphone was not on.  I paused.  The sound man started moving a bunch of buttons.  I spoke again.  “This reading…” my voice trailed off because the only people who could hear me were, well, me.  More people moved, trying to help me as I stood like a deer in headlights.  And then, I looked right at Troy and Tracy, and knew that this reading was for them and as long as they could hear me, it would be successful.  Giving up on my dreams to read into a microphone in front of a whole group of people staring at me, I stepped aside, and started to read their selection, just loud enough for the first row or two to hear, but most importantly, for them.

The act of acceptance, or acknowledging that change is a natural part of our interactions with other can play a vital role in our relationships.  (Over time) our relationship may no longer be based on intense passion, the view of the other as the embodiment of perfection, or the feeling that we are merged with the other, but in exchange for that, we are now in a position to truly begin to know the other, to see the other as he or she is, a separate individual with faults and weaknesses perhaps, but a human being like ourselves.  It is only at this point that we can make a genuine commitment, a commitment to the growth of another human being, an act of true love. – and excerpt from The Art of Happiness.

What I really wanted to do was adlib.  I think that after 17 years of being married, I have some of my own wisdom to share.  So, the red font is my thoughts.

The act of acceptance, or acknowledging that change is a natural part of our interactions with other can play a vital role in our relationships. (Over time) our relationship may no longer be based on intense passion, (that is when you put Fifty Shades of Grey on hold on your wife’s library card – not that Bill would ever do that) the view of the other as the embodiment of perfection (whoa, if you make it past ten minutes of knowing someone and feel he or she is the embodiment of perfection, you are so full of grace you just might pop), or the feeling that we are merged with the other (merged, meaning joined completely -not be be confused by submerged, which happens in wave pools), but in exchange for that, we are now in a position to truly begin to know the other, to see the other as he or she is (and wow, sometimes that is not pretty, especially when wearing a dress requires squeezing into shape wear), a separate individual with faults and weaknesses perhaps (PERHAPS??), but a human being like ourselves. It is only at this point that we can make a genuine commitment, a commitment to the growth of another human being (my bad, I am thinking pregnancy is the actual growing of another human being), an act of true love. – and excerpt from The Art of Happiness in the mind of Deb Pieper.

My words for you, the new Mr. and Mrs., who are starting a new adventure together.  We love you and are so happy to welcome a new friend to our circle.

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Now, most of us have four kids already, no time to waste!!

A couple wedding highlights:

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The Ushers

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Some of us stole cupcakes. We all ate more than one, we were united in our love of a good cupcake or two or five.

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It was a little chilly – table clothes can be blankets.

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Never too old for glow sticks and dancing in the dark.  Oh, shoot, none of the guys had time to dance, they all had years of history to rehash and catch up on.

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