Does it take losing something to make us see its real value? Suddenly we find ourselves in a world where weddings and funerals may not happen. Just a few weeks ago people might have questioned the need for these kinds of gatherings. Now, we begin to feel what we have lost. Albeit a temporary loss, something we must do for now, perhaps a takeaway is a clearer understanding of how important our social rituals really are.
A wedding is much more than the party and the white dress. It’s really about witnessing two people making a commitment. It’s the vows. When two people look at each other, with love in their eyes, and vow to walk through life together through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until death parts them. That is a wedding. That is important. A party can be held to celebrate the union any time. It’s the vows that make it a wedding and having family and friends witness those vows means something.
In the same way a funeral has a moment. A life can be celebrated weeks or even months after a death. However, when a person close to us dies the immediate response is numbness and disbelief. A funeral fills the important need we have to come together and share. At the funeral we understand the death is real and we do that in the comfort of community with family and friends. Funerals help.
For now, our gatherings may be curtailed. We will do what must be done to deal with a very real and very scary threat. Weddings may be postponed, and we will comfort those who experience a loss as best we can.