The Healing of the Inner Child
It was right after the ceremony. I had just declared Ria and Amber Demiri married in a beautiful ceremony with a picturesque setting made more beautiful by the people gathered to witness this sacred event.
The minister is usually the first one to the altar and the last one to leave it. And that is exactly what I did. Ria and Amber, hands raised high in the air with smiles from ear to ear, led the way as the wedding party fell in step behind them.
Pausing to capture the moment in my memory, I watched those holding witness to this sacred event join in the raising of hands, clapping and voicing their approval of the union of what some say is ‘TikTok’s hottest couple.’
I would agree.
The beauty of Ria and Amber goes far beyond their physical beauty. They are genuinely some of the kindest, most in love, most desiring-to-heal-from-generational-trauma humans I have ever met. As a minister who is set to officiate the ceremony that expresses their commitment to each other and the world, those are characteristics you want to find in the couples you marry. I was content in knowing that Ria and Amber were marrying for the right reasons.
By the time I had begun to make my way back down the aisle, both the wedding party and their guests had long forgotten me—as it should be. A minister is not the star of the show. If we do the job we’re there to do, we create sacredness in the ceremony that not only holds the space for those who are marrying, but also invites those witnessing the ceremony to come along, feel the love, and take a piece of the ceremony home with them.
Before each ceremony, I remind myself that I had been entrusted by the Holy to hold this sacred container for something beautiful to arrive in the form of this sacred union. I had managed to hold that space beautifully for Ria and Amber. And so, as I made my way back down the aisle, all eyes were turned away from me and the altar as they watched Ria, Amber, and the entire wedding party move toward the reception hall.
The ceremony was now complete, my most important job awaited me—the signing of the marriage certificate. This is another job that I take very seriously. Because no matter how lovely a ceremony a minister has performed, the wedding is not legal until 1) the marriage certificate is signed, and 2) said certificate is filed with the appropriate licensing office.
Aware that the guests were following behind me and eager to begin the celebration of this blessed union, I quickly sidestepped after the final row of chairs with a plan to zip up a side aisle to secure the couple’s signature.
And there he was. The photographer literally jumped out in front of me with his camera up and aimed it directly at me.
I was startled yet also confused. Why would he want this picture? What was he hoping to capture in this moment besides what could only be a look of confusion across my face?
These thoughts literally happened within seconds, along with the memory of meeting this kind soul briefly before the wedding began. He had wired my microphone to me, and someone captured those images as well. I mused that he didn’t miss many details, to which he responded that he took his job seriously.
I could tell he did, and now here he was, standing in front of me, waiting to capture the moment when the minister exits center stage, content in knowing she had held the space as sacred and had given the couple the wedding that they had desired.
I squealed. Literally, I squealed.
Even now, thinking about that day, I am surprised that this was my response. The day this picture was taken, I was two months from my 61st birthday. The years between who I am now and the little girl I used to be are many. Yet, on this day, I discovered that I not only have the inner child still alive inside me, she burst out front to take center stage.
They say your first response is always the appropriate one.
Correction—the authentic one.
No doubt you know what I’m talking about. That response that arrives before reason, embarrassment or guilt rises up to convince you that your first response isn’t your truth?
That’s the one.
As quickly as the moment occurred, it was over as the photographer hurried past me to take pictures of the guests making their way to the reception.
I too quickly forgot the picture as I rushed to catch up with Ria and Amber to secure their signatures on the wedding certificate.
Returning home from that memorable wedding, I quickly spiraled back into my life where decisions had to be made about an upcoming home restoration project as well as my writing and video projects.
Over the next few weeks, there were many pictures shared of the wedding, but I had forgotten about this picture. That is until Ria shared a batch of photos, and there in the middle of that batch was this picture.
And I remembered.
There I was, smiling in a way reminiscent of so many of my childhood photos, hopeful that life is nothing but joy and rainbows and cupcakes and glitter.
I would soon learn that life isn’t all joy.
Life can be very hard, and people can be cruel.
Over time, I had turned the pain from my childhood into good for others. That work consumed so much of me that I had forgotten to check in with that little girl, yet she has always been here, cheering me on.
And on that sunny day on a beach in Connecticut, it was that little girl..
Who still believed in love that took center stage and proclaim
“I am here, and I’m not only surviving, I am thriving!”
I’ve been fighting for that little girl my whole life
And she finally felt safe enough at this wedding to show up
Because there was no one there who would harm her
That’s why it’s important that you choose your inner circles wisely
It’s for that inner child who is rooting for you and
Cheering you and reminding you
That you deserve to be loved
You deserve to be seen for who you are
And Beloved, when you’re standing in your truth.
May your inner child feel safe enough to rise up and celebrate the true you
That is the you the world is waiting for.
Reading this I am reminded of the words of a wise teacher many years ago who told me that when I conduct a marriage ceremony it is the couple, not I who are the bearers of grace.