Yesterday, Tracey got married.
She told me this last night when she arrived at the shelter where I am an evening supervisor. She wrote "Brown" instead of "Johnson" on the sign-in sheet, and flashed a copy of the official paper.
"I got married!" she beamed.
Today is Easter.
Hope for Christians, and new life for all who live in climates where spring is most welcome. New life, new birth.
Birth can be messy.
We'd like to think of weddings as white and pure, not as a ceremony between people who spend their honeymoon in separate homeless shelters. A man and a woman who have a four-year-old daughter. A bride who was raped at age 11, became pregnant, and had a son.
But this wedding is a new start for Tracey. As a married couple, she and her husband will be able to secure housing more easily. It's a messy start, yes, but sometimes birth requires that. To celebrate, Tracey opened a few tins of cookies and shared them with everyone. The guests at this makeshift reception conversed over food and drink near the mats they'd sleep on later.
As Tracey relayed the account of how she and her husband met, she caught sight of something.
Easter grass, laying in the trash. Discarded. The plastic ribbon kind that makes a mess everywhere no matter how you try to contain it.
Tracey set down her cookies for a moment and gathered the best strands.
"For my kids," she said, beaming once again. "For their baskets."
Today is Easter. And yesterday, Tracey got married.