Christy, Social Justice Activist and Yoga Teacher & Dan, Teacher, Author, Start-up Founder, Activist
In social justice communities, there are the concepts of mutual aid and solidarity. In Buddhist thought, we have metta, or loving-kindness. Each springs from a world-view that holds community as sacred, interconnection as divine. A belief, on both the cosmic and worldly planes, that we are all in this together.
My partner and I are both devout social justice activists, and I am a dedicated practitioner and teacher of yogic arts. And because this is the intention for our lives together, these concepts—community, solidarity, loving-kindness—instantly became the theme for our wedding.
(Believe me, I tried to find “my colors” or pick a theme. No dice.)
Our love does not exist in a vacuum. We are not castaways on Couple Island. We exist in the context of family and culture and our amazing community of friends and chosen family. We have explicitly designed connection into our relationship, and know that we never walk alone. Our love thrives because of people who have shaped us individually and as a couple, helped us along the way, and guided us toward the magic life we have made together.
At our engagement party, about a month after a dear friend passed away very suddenly, a member of our wedding party said, “It’s been a really hard time for a lot of us recently. Thank you for giving us something to celebrate and be happy for.” I think that’s an important part of weddings—the ritual of allowing community to gather and participate in the happiness of members of that community.
From the beginning, we knew this wedding couldn’t be all about us. It was also about the people who have made, “Us,” possible. Offering them our gratitude, celebrating not just the union of my husband and me, but of all of us. Don’t get me wrong: I love my husband. But that love is not the only love. And the love we have in our friends, colleagues, teachers, and neighborhood—it doesn’t diminish the love that I have for Dan. It makes it stronger.
Walking down the aisle, my thought was, “Holy cow! Look at all these people I know!” It was magic and amazing to see all of the sweetness and love from so many people I love and respect in return. They were so present for us. And that feeling of so many people we love being present is still palpable to me.
So, as part of our ceremony, we made vows not just to each other, but also to our community. And we asked them to make vows to us. It was solemn and beautiful and necessary. Our marriage has a mission. And it was just appropriate for us to acknowledge each of our friends and family members as being a part of that.
After our ceremony, a couple of friends said to me, “You know, you just married all of us. And I love that.”
Our ceremony was not sanctified by a church or a state, but by the love that surrounded us, by the people who had supported our relationship along the way. (Christy’s yoga teacher married us, and it was awesome.)
In the struggle toward justice and freedom, there are not many victories. There is struggle and grief and inspiration and joy. But not as many victories as we would like. On our wedding day, we declared victory. We declared our love, and that love can win. And for a moment, it vanquished fear and pettiness and doubt and ugliness. And by allowing our friends and family to love us, to celebrate, to unite, we all win.
Grounded in our chosen home, the Bay Area, what unfolded was laughter and dancing and non-stop joy. It would have meant much less without the presence of our community. And we certainly couldn’t have done this without them. Luckily for us, we never have to.