Saturday was a very interesting day. The morning began with the dedication of a bench in Matt's name in front of Arts and Sciences. Dennis and Judy spoke, as did President Buchanan, and they all did quite well in my opinion. The mood was reserved and somber, though I suppose that's to be expected. The messages of the speeches were spot on, though that's not what struck me most about the morning: the crowd.
There were many familiar faces in the audience. Many were faces that I have been seeing for 10 years, and it felt so right that they were present. There were also many new faces, or at least folks who weren't here 10 years ago. That fact spoke volumes to me about whether or not "the discussion" was still going on, whether in Laramie or around the country.
Many of the folks in attendance were 8, 9, or 10 years old when Matt was killed in 1998. Yet there they were, working their way toward the front. It showed what I have known for the last 10 years. People who didn't even know Matt were (and still are!) affected by what happened to him, and conversations about hate and violence are still happening in our classrooms, living rooms, and places of worship. As well they should!
The day ended with my friend Julie's wedding. It was the shortest wedding I've ever attended; the happy couple stood under a flowered arch in the middle of the dance floor. They read the vows, exchanged rings, and kissed. Then on to dinner and the party! Not only was it blissfully short, it was perfect for Julie and Galyn.
Jesse and I sat with a table of strangers, but had a good time and even managed a little chit-chat. Everyone was simply happy for the couple, who both deserved to find a fabulous partner as they continue their walk along the road of life. The prime rib was decent, the music a lot of fun, and the floor show beyond compare. A boy and girl, probably around 3 years old, stole the stage.
They didn't know each other, though te bounced up and down while she ran in place or in circles. They were far too precious for anyone's own good, and reminded us all how fun life can be. To stay young at heart. To dance your own dance. To be nice to strangers, and that meeting new people is a good thing. All in all, a perfect way to end the night.
Today's lesson: Life and death are connected, sometimes even in the same day. We probably won't understand it all the time. We can't control it, but instead should focus on living it as best we can. You can dance a lot of dances in the meantime.