My wife and I spent a wonderful New Year’s at a party thrown by dear friends. It was supposed to be a wedding that I was to officiate, but about a week before the wedding, the bride and groom decided to call it off. I laud them for that as some of the saddest words that have been spoken in my psychotherapy office are from those who have said, “I knew I was making a mistake when I walked down the aisle.”
Here’s the twist, the groom’s family had booked flights to be here from Europe, and the bride’s family had bookings to be in town from all over the country. The father of the bride converted the wedding into a New Year’s party and both families followed through with their plans. Everyone was in attendance, including the couple that was to have married and their immediate families. And it was a lovely time. When people can forgive and understand and be sensible, magic can happen and it did tonight.
I woke up at 2:00 and it is now 6:30 on January 1st. I awoke to thoughts of the wedding and the amazing job that both families did to convert what could have been a scar into a healing. Somehow that led me to thoughts of my own family and the amazing job that they did to allow me to have the life that I enjoy.
Like many Americans, I am part of the second generation of an immigrant family. Knowing the family history as I do, if my grandparents on both sides hadn’t had the courage and made the sacrifices to leave eastern Europe before the war, my branch of the family tree would have burned in the Holocaust with other branches that weren’t as fortunate. I am able to write this because of who they were and what they did.
My resolve for the New Year is that my life and the way I live it be deemed to be a worthy return on the investment that my parents and grandparents, and those before them provided so that I may have the privileged life that I enjoy. Along with that resolve, my wish for the New Year is that people can forgive and understand and be sensible so that magic can happen in the world as it did in microcosm at a New Year’s party that was initially planned as a wedding.