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God at the Registry Office

I felt alive at my sister’s wedding yesterday where there was a powerful sense of love in the air. From the unity of the bride and groom at the civil marriage ceremony in Dublin City Hall, to my sister’s profound experience of thoroughly trusting in her family and friends, to genuine encounters throughout the event, yes, love endured.

I am proud to say that I was the last man standing at the end of the night, something I never thought would happen. It was only a short while ago when I felt very uncomfortable around others, but yesterday I mingled from one person to another with confidence. Although the word God was not mentioned at the City Hall, I could feel his presence. For example, my brother gave a speech which included a vivid description of our grandparents’ long-lasting fruitful relationships and in turn he wished such love for my sister.

God became more apparent at the restaurant where my mother seized the opportunity to lay down her blessings: for her daughter and son-in-law, for our food and for each other. The mother of the groom also gave her blessing and then, spontaneously, she burst out in song with a popular rendition of Amen. The whole room joined in with enthusiasm. I felt very close to God at this moment.

To be spiritual is to be amazed, I’m told, and my sister was full of amazement at her special day. Amazed at the generosity of her loved ones, amazed at the sheer bliss of her engagement, and even a sense of amazement for her future.

I really enjoyed the one-to-one conversations: I chatted with my brother about his speech; I relished the charm of my cousin’s girlfriend; I spoke freely about my bipolar disorder; and I laughed and sang with a couple. As I walked home alone, I practised an exercise where I thought of others for ten minutes: I gave thanks for the people who came to my mind and my heart swelled with connectedness. I heard the early morning birds, passed by Dublin City street cleaners, and marched home with more energy.

In reference to my previous blog, Fully alive, fully emotional, my sister’s wedding was indeed an invitation to be more fully alive. I let my tears flow, I felt wonderful joy, and there was a transformed transparency in sharing knowledge of my mental illness. I was reminded that love alone (or God) suffices.