Debra in Molakai: A Small Part in This Love Story
March 7, 2012 Returning from Hawai’i, Debra Pascali Bonaro
As I look out the window soaring at 38000 feet in the air, I see an expanse of white below. It is the edge of the North Pole, somewhere I have never been before. The view from the air in the night sky, filled me with awe. The natural beauty of our great mother earth, the glow of the moon on the snow, and the awe of nature and the many firsts that I have had an opportunity to witness. I also reflected on our need to protect and nurture this great beauty. We are one world and we must care about each other and how we are welcomed into the world.
Only two weeks ago my view from the window of the plane was very different. Miles and Miles of the Pacific Ocean and finally spotting the islands of Hawai’i. The sun glistened on the water, seeming endless, with small white ruffles of waves below. I was excited to see land. Feeling the vastness of the water and how important the water is to our planet and to each of us.
I was coming to Hawai’i for very different reasons than my normal travels. I had the great honor of creating a sacred wedding for Lauren, my cousin, friend, men-tee and her fiancé Joe. Coming from a big Italian family, ( I am sure you never guessed that by my name), I grew up with big Sunday dinners. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and many cousins would gather, play, and pass along our stories. These are still treasured memories of a time long gone. Yet, those special relationships with my cousins continue to hold a special place in my heart. When Lauren was born, Angela her mother had already moved away, but our relationship remained special to me. We had grown up together and now we were also raising children, sharing these times too. Lauren’s smile instantly captivated my heart. I was always happy to see her and watch her grow. As the years went on she grew into a incredible young woman whose interest began to include childbirth. I will never forgot the joy I felt when she wanted to attend a doula workshop with me. I thought this is good information for any young woman to use in her own life and also an opportunity to share my passion with her, to see another side of me. I could have never imagined where she has taken this today, as a partner in BellyBliss www.bellybliss.com a full service pregnancy, birth and beyond center, offering exercise, education, doula services and classes for women and men to explore all aspects of what birth has to offer in our lives. BellyBliss is a model that is needed all around the world. Lauren and her business partner Deb, are shining a light into the future of how to help parents care for themselves, their baby and form a community of knowledge and support.
I landed in Honolulu and waited for my small twin propeller engine plane to Molakai Honolulu looked like city as we flew over, but 20 minutes later we were landing on what appeared to be a deserted island that I soon fell in love with. 70 friends and family had made their way to Molakai to share a few days of celebration and finally the wedding day. It was magical in every way. Recreating the family and communityI loved growing up and realizing how important this is to all create in our lives in some way. Being a relatively deserted island – Lauren, Angela and her family had to bring everything over from the mainland. Every fork, glass, the planning is something I still can’t imagine. WIth supplies arriving everyone went to work, there were flower teams, decorating teams, the cake team, cooking teams and with everyone taking an active role, I had been asked to be the minister. Yes, what an honor and responsibility.
I will never forget when Lauren asked me. I was speaking in Hungary and received a text asking if we could talk. When I skyped her and she asked if I would marry them, I first asked is that allowed? Well, there is an online course where you can become ordained. She had really thought about this. Lauren and Joe wanted a special ceremony, from someone they knew. As a public speaker, family member, friend and sharing our passion for birth, they thought of me. I barely slept that night tossing and turning with ideas, honor, the same thing I did the night before the wedding. In between I read every book I could find on sacred wedding ceremonies, love poems, and talked with others who have performed special wedding ceremonies for ideas. My piles of highlighted notes began to come together with another cousins help. Kim had arrived only days before I left for Molakai, for the passing of one of our uncles, and offered to help type all my notes up. It felt good to feel the circle of life and the circle of family once again.
Soon we were standing on the beach in the late afternoon sun, with family and friends gathered around us. Lauren and Joe had created the special opportunity for family and friends to come together, not just for a few hours, but for several days, to work together, to share how they knew each other and to forge new bonds in support of their marriage.
I found a translation of a Hawai’ian song that seemed appropriate for this special day and location.
(Here all Seeking is Over )
Here all seeking is over,
the lost has been found,
a mate has been found
to share the chills of winter—
now Love asks
that you be united.
Here is a place to rest,
a place to sleep,
a place in heaven.
Now two are becoming one,
the black night is scattered,
the eastern sky grows bright,
At last the great day has come!
With other special readings, poems and songs we came to the exchanging of the rings. I had read of creating a sacred circle, as the rings are a circle so I asked:
Join me in creating a circle of friendship: of family, friends and our love.
As Matt, the best-man brings the rings around, in this shell, we ask that each of you offer a silent blessing or wish for the Lauren & Joe.
Your positive thoughts and energies will imbue these simple objects of metal with more than just the hopes and dreams of these two lovers. These wishes will show that they have a place in this community, and that they have our blessing and support of their union.
The ring is a symbol of the unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and no end, no giver and no receiver for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings always remind you of the vows you have taken.
Take hands, both of you. And all of you who love each other in this circle, please take each others’ hands as well. We all understand the gesture that you are now making. To reach out to someone and be acknowledged, held, and loved is what we all want. Taking the hand of one who loves you is the symbol of that unspoken bond.
All the months of reading could not have prepared me to look around, to see the beauty of the ocean, and the more beautiful love between Lauren and Joe and all who encircled them. I held back tears for the love in some many forms and facets that I felt and saw. Gratitude for being able to be a small part in this love story and for all who open themselves up to the miracle and wonder of life.
The vast white continues and continues as do my memories from Lauren and Joes sacred wedding as I drift off to sleep and dream of what awaits in Bali.