Weddings are great occasions, especially weddings that happen in Greece. Two good friends were married last night. They formed a bridge spanning between the local Greek culture in Athens and life in rural Switzerland where the language is strictly German. The contrast in cultures permeates on all levels.
The obvious differences began on a simple level when people want to be active. For the Swiss attending the wedding the idea of eating dinner at midnight is madness! For the Greeks anything before ten is far too early to even begin thinking about food. As we received our huge plates of pasta on the first night just before midnight it would have been an easily formula for frayed tempers and words. Last night as we greeted the bride and groom for the first time at the reception after the stroke of twelve, I was sure something was going to explode!
Yet everyone heard Wisdom’s voice. “In the heat of an argument, don’t betray confidences; word is sure to get around, and no one will trust you.” (Proverbs 25.9, 10)
The blend of Greek, German and English defied all traditional logic. As the evening progressed the languages became truly intertwined and laughter and joy being shared across generations, cultures, and traditions. People smiled and laughed way beyond their traditional bed-times. People reached out to share their hopes and dreams with people who were present because of their love for two individuals. Even when things didn’t go quite according to the carefully planned script everyone including the bride and groom went with the flow.
I helped the last person off the bus this morning at the hotel and realized that it was after four in the morning. I wondered; would words come through in spite of everyone’s best efforts? Would boundaries fall into place and force people to choose sides? Would tiredness win over kindness?
Even as a father carried his sleeping child to the elevator people were reaching out to help. Life has no backspace with our words and actions. When love wins we really don’t need it.