Is it frivolous to have spent many many moments in the past few months discussing dresses to wear to weddings with my younger sister Meg? Her daughter Amelia is getting married this weekend and her son Alex is getting married in October, and Dave, the middle son of our late sister Chris is getting married in two weeks. There was also the wedding of my son-in-law’s brother this past weekend. I’m officiating at two of the upcoming weddings, so there are mother-of-the-bride dresses to consider, officiant dresses, rehearsal dinner dresses, and wedding guest dresses.
Add to this the fact that Meg, Amelia and I have traded dresses at the last two family weddings, taking turns with each one. Sort of like musical dresses, except no one is ever left without a dress. At the last wedding we got a bridesmaid and mother-of-the-bride in on the swapping too.
That’s a lot of dresses. So every time Meg and I are together we try on dresses from our closets (luckily we’re close enough in size that most everything fits), we buy dresses and compare, we look at dresses online. Yesterday I got a text about the dress plan for this weekend just as I was headed in to Marshall’s to look for another dress. Which I found.
To answer my opening question, no. I don’t think spending mental energy and attention focusing on what dress to wear to which wedding is frivolous. It’s a relief. The world is a tough place to take in these days — a hate-mongering sociopath as a major candidate for President, constant reports of mass shootings and massacres and fatal shootings by police and against police, an attempted coup in Turkey, another too-young death of a friend, escalating climate change that may be a contributor to a dry enough summer that the farmer across the street is already putting out hay for the cows in the pasture where the grass has stopped growing.
The hard edges of life can’t be all we keep in focus. People still fall in love and get married. People still have fun dressing up and usually look great when they do. Having reasons to celebrate is a reason to celebrate itself.
Thinking and talking about and texting pictures of dresses back and forth with Meg is a happy thing to do and harmless. Or maybe not completely harmless. Maybe the dresses we’ve ordered and bought were made by women and children working in terrible conditions with inadequate compensation. Do I have to think about that too?
Well, yes, but I can still enjoy myself, even if all those dresses keep stalking me on every page of the internet I open.
Celebration of life-affirming events puts good energy into the world, and right now the world can use all the good energy it can get.