Beating of a Butterfly’s Wings over the Atlantic can cause a hurricane in the Pacific is quote from the movie “Happenstance”, which dwells on the consequences of a series of small and at times insignificant actions by different people. We all engage in countless small and not so small actions often without a deeper thought. Yet, those actions create a ripple effect beyond our individual universe and touch others at times in ways we never get to know.
As I am wondering what would be a good example, I thought about my wedding dress and how our journey intertwined. What happened to it? Did it make another woman happy, and did her marriage last longer than mine? Like so many twenty-some-year-old women I dreamt of a monumental wedding ceremony in an old historic church along with a fancy white dress and an exotic honey moon. I got it all. Yet, my marriage only lasted a couple of years. Nobody had taught me how to navigate through the state of a union and make it work. But this is besides the point I want to make. Upon the return from our honeymoon I had the wedding gown dry cleaned and kept it in an almost sterile environment. I was determined to preserve this memorable relict for eternity, thinking that perhaps one day I have a daughter who will wear it for her big day.
At the time I probably saw my future descendent’s grand occasion happening through my self imposed pink lenses. If anybody had tried to pull me out of that cloud I would not have listened. Maybe a friend or family member tried and I simply don’t remember. Well, like many young women before me the rude awakening from this unrealistic Cinderella dream came kind of sudden. Sure, from today’s point of view it was long in the making, but back then the realization about the state of my marriage came out of nowhere.
Very much like my wedding dress, which I tried to keep in a pristine condition, I placed the same focus on my marriage, clinging on the early happy moments and not wanting to move beyond the beginning stage. We had shuffled everything that appeared to be uncomfortable under a carpet and failed to communicate until one day we not only stumbled, but fell over the mountain top covered by the carpet. As our marriage rolled down the hill it got momentum and the increased speed felt like a free fall into an infinite dark space. I was married for less than two years when the walls of our union started to crumble and the tower collapsed soon afterward like a sink hole. We had failed to build a foundation upon which we could have prevailed a storm.
Once it was clear that this was indeed the end of not only my marriage, but also the end of a dream, I was forced to move on with my life and face a new reality. For a while I attended my broken heart in that never-ending darkness until I started pulling myself up and ultimately decided to resolve my contribution to the failing of that marriage. I asked myself what did I need to repair in order to enter another union in the future and above all to make it work. First, I had to downsize from a spacious house to an apartment and that meant among many other things to render my wedding dress to someone else. It no longer carried the importance and memory I wanted to preserve, but the symbol of a surreal marriage built in the sky. I didn’t want to hold to on to what so painfully collapsed while I paid no attention to the process until it was too late.
Now I had to face the real world with all its changes and determined the same fate for my dress. I gave the wedding gown to a local charity that mainly assisted immigrants. There the dress hang among many other used insignificant cloth in a large room exposed to an indifferent environment. Did someone stop and embrace its beautiful design as I once did? I wonder what woman stepped in front of an altar wearing that dress? Is she still married and happy with the state of her relationship? What does her life look like now? Was she more mature and wiser than I was, or had she access to a wise woman’s guidance? Does she have a daughter? I will never know, but if this were a scene in a movie like “Happenstance”, the viewer would get a peek into the aftermath of my wedding dress. What if we were able to tap into such knowing? Would that alter our own life and add to our wisdom? A movie would allow the audience to glance at the next sequel…. a wedding and most interestingly of all the family that is tight to the memory of that dress. With that thought I can almost see that wedding gown hanging in someone else’s closet as it may still exist somewhere out there.