As I sat comfortably slouched on a giant bean bag watching the glorious sun rise intensely over Siargao’s blue waters, my heart began to burn in gratitude. I carefully named each person in prayer, recapping every wonderful moment and its significance in my life because I felt so blessed. Love conspired to bring what it knew was necessary in my life. I had to trust that everything was going to be just fine and that I could continue to live in that same state of mind. All I had to do was continue to give and receive love.
About a year ago, my best friend Ivy and her husband-to-be Charlie asked me to travel across the world with them for their wedding in the Philippines as her maid of honor. My initial reaction was expected: I was full of excitement and honored to be of service!
However, three months before the wedding, an unfortunate event disrupted my life. This hovered over my head like a cloud and I became increasingly worried about my finances. Not being in the right state of mind, I worried that I’d be a drag on the wedding..
In situations like these, I try to remember my Mom’s method of coping with life’s hardships. She’d tell me, “Anak, (“child” in Tagalog) just pray. Bahala na ang Dios,” (“It’s all up to God”) So before I left, I gave my worries to God.
Charlie and Ivy had a packed itinerary before the wedding which consisted of: dinners in Port Bonifacio, clubbing at Cove and Xylo, watching midget boxing, and some pampering. But, there was one unexpected event I’m glad we added to our schedule. Weather reports showed a high percentage chance of heavy rain in Siargao on the wedding date. This raised deep concerns. A friend (who would officiate the wedding) shared some Filipino folklore where prayers were being answered at a particular church after offering up a few eggs. It might have seemed a bit silly at first, but the couple didn’t want to miss any chance to move the grey clouds away. So, bright and early next morning, we went to Saint Claire of Asisi Katipunan with utter faith that our submission of eggs to the Almighty would give Charlie and Ivy the wedding of a lifetime.
We soon after landed in Siargao. The rain was coming down as a light, but refreshing, drizzle. Our group of 18 met more of Ivy and Charlie’s family as well as the wedding coordinators. Everyone was so warm and eager to know more about one another. It’s an understatement to say we all just “hit it off.” Rather we became an extension of love from the two people that brought all of us together!
The morning of the wedding, the rain began to pour. This startled the bride and should have caused a panic attack but, with conviction, Ivy said, “It’s okay, Dani. It has to rain to make the day beautiful.” The couple’s calmness, energy and faith that morning was so powerful that I believe it was enough to move rain clouds out of the sky.
Boats lined up to take the entourage and their guests to where the ceremony was taking place, Naked Island. Guests waited for the bride on banigs and pillows while basking in perfect island weather! There wasn’t a cloud above the island but rather puffy white clouds all around. It was as if God cut a hole for the sun to shine through just for us.
Watching my best friend walk down the aisle, I thought to myself, “this would have been a perfect day in any situation because of her.” The light and love that beamed out of her soul was contagious.
This trip was just what the doctor ordered. I could now go back to New York and face my reality head-on with a better outlook on life. Now I understand the duty I have to myself and others as a human being on this planet.
To the wedding entourage: OMG, we’re all like family now and should meet for a reunion back in the Philippines next year! To the wedding coordinators and staff at The Harana Resort, Siargao Blue Resort, @destino.luxetravelandtours, @theeventsfactorysurigao, @throughpastelcoloredglasses, @zizylicious and @vedaua: With all your efforts combined, you pulled off the wedding of a lifetime. Your kindness and work ethic are really a testament to true Filipino culture. Congratulations. And finally, to Charlie and Ivy: You two together can apparently move rain clouds. Thank you for being an example of love.