The Back Alleys of Life


My family had one of those moments out of time last week, when everyone stopped what they were doing in life and came together for the wedding of my niece and goddaughter. From Cleveland, Detroit, Pennsylvania and beyond we gathered on the Cape… Cape Cod, Massachusetts that is…and spent three wonderful days together laughing, dancing, and catching up.

What stood out to me though wasn’t the wedding Mass Liturgy, which was beautiful, or the reception, which was absolutely divine. It was the toast given by the bride’s father, Jeff. My husband looked at me with wonder and just said “he hit that one dead on”; there wasn’t a dry female eye at our table either.

In his toast Jeff reminded his daughter of the European trip he took her on when she graduated from High school. He reminded her of the planning that went into the trip, the places they had discussed that were a “must-see”, the itinerary they spent weeks creating, and the anticipation of traveling through each and every major city in France and Italy.

And then he reminded her of the actual trip highlights. The change in itinerary due to striking workers. The change in tours due to weather conditions. The missed connections, the canceled reservations, the desire to stay longer in one place and skip another due to the fun they were having.

Jeff reminded Kate, and all the guests, about the back alley boutiques she loved to discover off the beaten track. How they skipped eating at a famous Paris restaurant because they had spent so much time at a bistro, sipping cafe au’lait and eating chocolate croissants,  watching all the pedestrians walk by. How the impromptu parts of the trip led to the greatest memories and photo opportunities.

Marriage, Jeff told her, was like that. No amount of planning will ever create the perfect marriage. There will always be detours along the way because life itself is not dictated by an itinerary. Some of the best times in marriage are like the impromptu parts of their trip…unplanned, disrupting, sometimes frustrating…but those moments are the foundation of a solid marriage.

Stay strong through the times when your plans go awry, when life throws you a curve ball and you spin around in circles saying to yourself “what just happened”? The answer is simply “because…because that’s what marriage is all about. It’s crazy, its unpredictable, its frustrating to be sure at times…but the best moments are the unscripted ones.”

Jeff was right. The most memorable parts of my marriage were the times our plans took a left turn, and that left turn became something special. All of life is like that if you have the right attitude I believe. Open yourself up to what is in front of you instead of what you want to be in front of you…and go from there.

You will not be disappointed…I promise!

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About Carol Bannon

Member of iCatholic community, Catholic Writers Guild, married with 4 children. Author of A Handshake From Heaven, a Catholic book on the Eucharist and the Handshake From Heaven Lesson Plan Book, currently available through Amazon. Also a contributor to Catholic Mom and an avid reader.
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