Yesterday at the airport there was a bride in her wedding gown flying to meet her groom. In her full gown and made up to the nines she looked gorgeous, happy and stuffy. Almost 7 years ago to the day I flew to Kuwait with my husband as a newly wed after my wedding and quick honeymoon. I spent years feeling sorry for myself that most of my family had never visited me at my new home, that I had never been able to host a family dinner and that they are never near by.
But years have passed, years that have added wisdom and peace. I never could understand why a woman would do that. Traveling is stressful enough without having to wear a wedding dress. A white one that will probably pick up dust and dirt. Make up that will probably smudge and melt in the heat of the plane. Being cramped in those tiny seats that seem to be designed to torture anyone who is taller than a meter and a half while wearing a huge dress.
But a week earlier I had watched a bride arrive at the airport and I heard the claps, the ululations (زغاريط) and the happiness of people who were waiting for her to arrive and I finally understood. This was a woman who chose to deal with all of these discomforts to be happy, to take what was given to her by life and to accept it and enjoy it. She still got to wear the dress, she still got the celebrations but most of us, she was still a bride who was happy to be married and join her husband.
We do not choose what happens in life, we only choose to accept it and enjoy it, or to refuse and whine about it. And we all know that whinging does not work. It just robs you of happiness. I spent years doing the latter. Trying hard to change the unchangeable and challenging a fate I could not control. I was robbed of happiness. I robbed myself of it. I chose to be miserable and sad. I was so caught up in wallowing in my own misery instead of enjoying all of the things I had been blessed with without any doing of my own.
I say a little prayer for airport brides, may they forever be happy, may they be blessed with happy and full marriages and lives, may they always have the ability, wisdom and grace to walk in their lives with smiles on their faces whatever they may face. May their husbands understand the sacrifices they have made of leaving family behind and trekking out in the world on their own to meet them half way. May they always be blessed with the ability to find the silver lining.
“Expect nothing and accept everything.” I read that quote somewhere and it sounds defeatist at first, but it isn’t. It is finding the strength not to put conditions on happiness. It is harder than it sounds but it is rewarding.