Today was a good day for numerous reasons. A week and a half ago, I thought I'd be spending the morning at our church with my family and our friends, watching as my daughter made a new commitment in her spiritual walk. A week and a half ago, however, our plans were temporarily put on hold...for a very good reason. Today was not only John and Janet's one year anniversary, it was also their wedding day. I can't say that I know either of them incredibly well, as I only met them both today about an hour before their ceremony. But after speaking with one of their close friends who was helping to plan their wedding day, I knew where I needed to be.
I'm not able to tell their story perfectly, but I learned during their ceremony that they met when Janet taught a gardening class. They share a love of the outdoors (and John quickly caught Janet's eye)...but things clicked and they went out on a date. Again, I can't tell their story perfectly (and I don't always hear every word being shared by the officiant during a ceremony because I'm focused on the light or waiting for the next reaction), but several things stood out today. The first thing that stuck with me was that John took Janet to chemo on their second date. And then he helped her with moving some mulch for her garden. And knowing what little I know about their story and their life together, that's unlike anything I have ever heard over the course of photographing many weddings and getting to hear countless love stories.
When John went to read his vows to Janet, he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and started reading. "Bread. Milk. Eggs..." We all roared with laughter. When they exchanged their real vows, they were...real.
Oddly enough, wedding photographers don't always get to work with couples who stand by each other like that from day one. We don't always meet people who find new ways to make their partner laugh. It's a simple concept, and it's one that we as a society have come to almost expect as a given - it's such a simple thing, but it's not always there.
When I spoke with their friend a week and a half ago and learned about what both John and Janet are walking through again in regards to their health, I felt like I needed to be there today. I'm thankful I was, because I had the privilege of another little window into a place where the light of selfless, real love and shared laughter exists - something that truly refreshes me, feeds my soul, and gives me renewed hope in the midst of a world that is often dark.
Whether or not you live in Denton and regardless of whether or not you know either John or Janet, I wanted to share this link to a gofundme in hopes that some of my friends might feel led to contribute as the burden of medical bills can quickly get overwhelming.
Their officiant happened to share one of my favorite passages from a book that has brought me great peace almost-daily (yes, I read the entire book over and over again and have for years) and I wanted to share a portion of that here.
"...And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."
- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Today was a good day, indeed. Here are a few of my favorite shots.