Help from unseen hands


There is a spirit that moves through a wedding, and the photo above puts it perfectly into words. People find themselves not only wrapped up in the magic, but contributing to it.

I watched it happen this week as a groomsman in a beautiful ceremony on the shores of Lake Simcoe in Barrie, Ontario.

Along with the groom and my three fellow attendants, I wound up taking on jobs unique to this hand-made wedding—combing the woods for cedar boughs, building an arbour from maple saplings, laying out a spirit lodge—as well as more familiar errands.

At almost every point, helpful strangers reached out with kindness. We rented a car when there wasn’t one available, and got charged for a day instead of two. A seamstress mended a pair of pants for free, at the last minute. Picnickers helped place the outline of the lodge on the beach. And so on.

One crucial task required us to power our sound system from the lifeguards’ beach shack, but they would be closed during the ceremony. No problem; they kindly offered to plug an extension cord into a socket inside the shack, and leave an end out for us.

I dropped off the cord, resisting the urge to remind the lifeguards to run it out the door before they left on Friday. We’d be out of luck on Saturday. But sure enough, when I circled back after hours, I spotted a few inches of cord protruding from the door. They’d buried the socket end in the sand, preventing anyone not in the know from plugging in.

That night it rained, and I briefly worried about blowing a fuse if the wet sand shorted out the plug. I reminded myself to honour the gift they’d offered and let it go. And indeed, when I dug up the plug on Saturday for set-up, I found it carefully wrapped in plastic and sealed with duct tape.

Folded up inside the plastic bag was this little note: “Have a great wedding! City of Barrie lifeguards.”

Doesn’t that just say it all? Help from unseen hands. Where would any of us be without it?

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