Recently my husband and I attended a wedding. We were prepared for anything. First, this event was in Los Angeles and was sure to be filled with a mix of entertainers and political activists. Second, it was a vegan event, which took a little mental preparation for my carnivorous husband. Thirdly and most importantly, it was Denise’s wedding. Denise’s first wedding was a potluck on the top of a mountain with the Looney Tunes theme played for her husband’s entrance. We could not imagine what this wedding would provide. Little did I know that it was to be a lesson in the power of true acceptance, love, and forgiveness.
Arriving at the church, I could already feel something was different. This time it was real. This time it was love. This time there was so much joy exuding from every guest and from every corner of the building. Not only was this joy for the union of Denise and Mike, but it was due to those gathering recognizing what makes Denise special and our joy that she has fond someone who is just as special.
Knowing Denise for years, I was used to her never ending entourage of eclectic friends. No matter the lifestyle choices, interests, quirks, physical maladies, or psychological hindrances Denise embraces them all without judgement and with full love and acceptance. But I had no idea how deep her love was nor how much others recognized and appreciated her gift.
Denise has the ability to see the little nugget of good that is in us all. No matter what our exterior warts are, she can see through it. She focuses not on our flaws, but on that piece of inner beauty we all possess. Imagine if you could go through the day and not judge anyone. What if you had the ability to see each individual as their pure essence? What if you could love them for their good without diminishing that good because of physical, psychological, or philosophical differences? This is pure acceptance. And it is powerful.
But in Denise’s case, it has also brought some harm in her life. In only seeing one’s good, she often did not recognize when people may have a dark side that would hurt her. And they did hurt her again and again. But this did not lessen her desire and ability to see the good. In fact, she was usually so blinded by the good she saw, that any bad that occurred was jarring to her.
Thankfully, Denise’s other ability is that of forgiveness. Pure, unresentful forgiveness. Just like her acceptance, her forgiveness is absolute. And it is not just the small stuff like forgiving some driver for cutting one off. Try the hard ones like forgiving your first husband for infidelity. Denise was able to do it. And not just with lip service. She forgave him and was at peace with him to the point that he attended her second wedding. Not only did he attend, but his brother helped with the reception. Not only did her ex-husband attend the wedding, but an ex-boyfriend spoke during the ceremony and almost every boyfriend she ever had attended. It was fun to watch the other guests politely (and sometimes not so politely) maneuver around the social potholes this produced. But not Denise, she glided around the room filled with untainted joy.
And I think that is the gift that Denise gave to everyone who attended her wedding. The unencumbered joy one can feel when there is no judgment but only acceptance and where there is no hostility but only forgiveness. I have never been in a room filled with more love. The love that Denise gave to everyone was returned ten-fold.
Not long after the wedding, I was talking to a client who was in much pain because of something a family member did. This client was physically and emotionally distraught from the thoughtlessness of this family member. We worked together to help the client see the family member as they are instead of how it was longed they should be. We worked to see the kernel of good and to focus on that, not the disappointment. This brought the client to a place of acceptance. Then we worked on forgiveness. Forgiveness is based on understanding where a person is in their life and of what they are capable. The relief this client felt when they could finally accept and forgive was powerful and cleansing.
What acts of acceptance and forgiveness have you experienced? Who do you need to accept? Who do you need to forgive?
This is my wedding gift to you, Denise, pure love in the form of acceptance and forgiveness returned back to you always.