My daughter is getting married in ten days. This event has turned out to be one of my biggest life lessons in discipline, task organization, and patience. In fact, for the last few weeks I have been awakening and retiring to the mantra “present, patient, prepared.” They have become my “Three Ps” of getting ready for a major event.
Something as exciting as preparing for a wedding begs you to be present. It’s so easy under the demands of working with difficult vendors, the time pressures that build, and the inevitable shortness in our interactions, that sometimes we think, “I can’t wait until this is over.” But the excitement of the event exists in great part in all the preparation. Here is where you work side by side, create something beautiful together, something to be remembered.
So I have been working hard to show up and enjoy each of these moments. That’s where patience comes in. Over the last few weeks I have seen the following phrase appear over and over on the screen in my mind’s eye: “Everything will be fine in the end. And if it’s not fine now, then it’s not the end.” We seem to be so talented at “awfulizing” any bump in the road. I’ve been trying to “delightfulize” it instead.
So you can’t underestimate being prepared. No matter how patient and present I am, there are still lists to make and deadlines to meet so we aren’t overwhelmed. Of course, we’ve been there quite a few times, but now that we’re close to a week out, I am starting to feel the calm that preparation brings. For example, I wanted to bake the bride and groom’s favorite cookies as welcome gifts when folks arrive. Rather than waiting until the weekend before, I actually baked 80% over the last few weeks. It’s a good feeling right now.
Preparing for the Big W – the wedding – is an analogy for other life changes. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could think of all those changes with the anticipation and excitement we give to a wedding? Think about it, as exciting as it is, it’s quite a gamble. Sticking together as partners through all that life can dish out. While it would be wishful thinking to bring that kind of joy and zest to every change, the truth is, that is exactly what each one offers.
But let’s not forget the discipline, the choices, and the list making that goes along with a wedding. Put in the effort, and it’s likely you’ll reap the reward. So get your pencils out, make those lists, find your patience shield, and drink in each moment, bickering and all.