Like many newly married couples in the 21st century we have an array of media from our wedding online. We have the professional photographers’ photos, digital albums from family and friends, and shakily shot smart phone videos. We even felt like celebrities on Facebook for a bit. As would be expected, after a couple of weeks our Facebook notification barrage & social media fame tapered off. Other than one video.
With over 6000 views on YouTube at the time of launching this blog in 2014 – and for people who don’t run their own channel and only dabble casually in the social media world, that’s a lot of views– it has continued to make the rounds on the web over the years. The video is of our wedding party surprising Andrew and singing “May I Suggest” by Susan Werner. Emily arranged it all in secret, as her wedding gift to Andrew.
Almost 5 years later it’s still an incredibly powerful, beautiful, and defining moment for us.
There’s just something about a group of people gathered to support a bride and groom, singing to them about what life and their future has to offer, that resonates with the hope we long to see in the world.
The lyrics begin:
May I suggest
May I suggest to you
May I suggest this is the best part of your life…
At a first glance, one might assume this statement is meant to just describe the wedding. But if the wedding really was the “best part” of our lives, then what’s the point of getting married in the first place? If the best part of our lives is over, what else do we have to live for? The song doesn’t stop there.
Just turn your head
And you’ll begin to see
The thousand reasons that were just beyond your sight
The reasons why
Why I suggest to you
Why I suggest this is the best part of your life…
The essence of this song is an invitation to embrace all of life, the big and the little moments that only you see. All of these have meaning. By living wholeheartedly, we open ourselves to connect with what this unique piece of life has to offer. We open ourselves to see the thousands of blessings that were just beyond our sight.
And yet, sometimes life is hard. Really hard. There are ugly, tragic, devastating parts of life, too.
Poverty. Inequality. Hatred. While we long to see an end to these and more, we would be lying if we pretended they don’t exist. At times, the depths of grief and pain experienced in the world today are overwhelming, disheartening, and infuriating. It’d be easy to ignore one reality in efforts to focus on the other. Optimists and glass-half-full believers are accused of ignoring the pain. For pessimists and glass-half-emptiers, it’s tough to feel any sunshine through the fog of negativity.
To truly embrace all of life we have to be willing to live the good and the bad. As a wise woman we love once said, we are meant to experience the full range of human emotions.
The song later continues:
This is a song
With a request of you
To see how very short the endless days will run.
And when they’re gone,
When the dark descends
We’d give anything for one more hour of light.
Even in the dark and the doubt of our journeys, even in the last moments of life, we are invited to view it as a special moment, as the best moment. Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but when we choose to show up in our own lives, we find meaning.
We make our own meaning.
Our marriage is what we make of it. We choose to continue to be married every day. There are good days and not-so-good days, and in each of them this invitation resides.
Our Peace Corps service is what we make of it. We are learning and struggling and growing and changing over the course of our 27 months in Nicaragua. In moments of cultural understanding and sharing to culture shock and wanting to go home, this invitation beckons.
We make our own meaning.
We know that life is short and precious. We aspire for this blog to help us document those precious moments, to call us to pay attention in our lives to times of blessing and times of struggle. It creates a space for us to reflect and process our experiences. We hope that sharing here will inspire & challenge you to pause and acknowledge the beauty in your process. And we hope that you will feel led to share your life experiences with us, too.
Over 19 months into our Nicaraguan adventure, our “Why blog” is still as strong as ever. Of course, as volunteers and cultural ambassadors, we want to share Nicaragua with you. But as fellow experiencers of life’s ups, downs, and everything in-between, we want to share our inspiration and mission with you:
May we suggest that life is beautiful. May we suggest that life is hard. May we suggest that life is worth living, that there is more to embrace, that love and light are actually all around. May we suggest that this moment, whoever and wherever you are in life, is the best part of your life.
Blogging Abroad Blog Challenge:
Digital ambassadors promoting cross-cultural exchange.
Find all of our responses to the challenge here.