all I have

The sidewalk in front of the church is peopled in black. 

My approach is tinted with sadness.

When I reach the would-be mourners, just 50 feet from the lake, I realize my mistake.

This is Saturday.  And these are wedding guests.

Such a fine line it is, I think, between sorrow and joy.  Between beginnings and endings.

What’s on the outside will tell you nothin. 

Black goes both ways.  Shows up to pay its respects.  Gathers to witness vows. 

Black covers over grief and wraps itself around promise.  Sometimes at the same time — at the same event.

My gaze shifts to the path ahead where a couple walks hand in hand, baby stroller and puppy’s leash on either side.  If I snapped a picture of them right now, the frame would include the steeple of the church where I wore white in 1995.

The wind picks up and the lake’s icy fingers touch my open neck. 

I push my chest up, throw my shoulders back and take a deep grateful breath.   

Maybe I will never learn how to read today in a way that will help me know whether the fine line of tomorrow is blacked in sorrow or joy.  But maybe that’s not the point.

Remembering the words from Emily Dickenson I selected for the cover of the wedding program  —

It’s all I have to bring to-day,

This and my heart beside.

This, and my heart, and all the fields,

And all the meadows wide.

— I ask myself, would you do it differently if you could do it over?  Will you do it differently if you have the chance to do it again?


No I won’t.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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