People often say that life is in the details. They said that it’s the little things that matter. While these statements make sense, it’s not always easy to illustrate them or to understand what type of impact they could have on our lives.
Last week, while at a wedding of our friends’ son, I was privy to witness a moment in time that illustrated this point so beautifully. The wedding ceremony ended and everyone yelled “Mazal Tov!” Most people had turned to their partner to share a moment, or they had turned away to find their table, or maybe they were going to greet a friend they hadn’t seen during the cocktail hour.
But I, well I’ve learned with time, and I had my eyes glued to the chuppah and the bride and groom. As they finished embracing, and before all of their eager family and friends could get to them for hugs and congratulations, the groom’s younger brother shot up onto the podium. And without a word, he tilted his head in front of his brother. The groom, stopping everything else that he could have been doing, put his hands over his younger brother’s head, closed his eyes and offered up the most heart-felt bracha (prayer) for his brother’s well-being.
The entire room melted away and they were the only people there. Just the brothers for a moment. The scene was so endearing, so tender and glorious, that I stood there with tears streaming down my face.
My husband, witnessing the moment as well and knowing me to the core, turned to me and said, “Wow. The bracha got you, right? You’re going to need a few minutes to collect yourself, aren’t you?”
I asked many people that evening and the next day if they had seen that brief moment, and no one had.
They all explained that they had turned away from the chuppah, or they had started walking towards it to dance the bride and groom off the podium, or that they were heading to the bathroom. Whatever it was, they had watched the big event (which was beautiful) but had missed the little one that came so quickly after and that held so much meaning, so much love.
As I have reflected on this moment over the last few days, I’ve been brought back to another moment. This one was, ironically, at the conclusion of another wedding ceremony a few years ago. Our neighbors married off the last of their three boys. The wedding ceremony ended and most of the guests were singing and clapping for the bride and groom as they walked away from the chuppah.
I remained, however, standing near the chuppah and watched one of the sweetest moments. The music was still playing, and the groom’s father took hold of the groom’s mother, under the night stars and the crisp, white canopy. They were the only people still standing on the platform, and the two of them began a dance; it was a dance of love, hope, joy, renewal and promise and they appeared to be in a universe all their own. Under the inky night sky, they danced to their accomplishment as parents, to the ending of one chapter and the starting of another, and to the mysteries that their future together would now hold. It felt like the dance of their lives, and I was honored to witness it and to watch their love.
Sometimes life is lived best in the big, flashy moments. But often, the true gems are the hidden glances; the times that shadow those dramatic, flashy circumstances and that hide just inside the echo after the flash. Those, those are the moments that we get to enjoy when we are quiet and still, and observing life unfold around us.
And those, truly, are the most special moments of our lives.