I am learning more of more about this world and sometimes an insight or special piece of knowledge comes to me from the least expected places. When I attended the wedding of Maurice and Darlene Lafontaine recently, I met a lot of great people and I saw first-hand the wonderful support of family, friends and community that thrives with First Nation people. It was good to be in Chapleau for the weekend with my friend Mike as we were welcomed into a large and warm family setting.
The wedding went off smoothly with a church service that was on time, full of positive messaging from father Lucien Bouillon and a full house of family and friends. The wedding party was immaculate and I can attest to the amount of time the girls spent to get ready at the hair dressing shop because I spent hours documenting it with a video camera.
Even though people were nervous and fidgety, as always, a unique form of First Nation humor permeated the entire weekend. Everybody seemed to be laughing most of the time and the one liners just kept coming. I don’t like crowds a whole bunch and my buddy Mike likes them even less but this crowd was easy to be with. Everyone was so kind to each other and so respectful. I could sense a lot of history with this family in their friends and much effort into healing.
I was reminded about what that special word love stands for. During this weekend I watched as people cried, hugged, laughed and prayed together.
I can tell you I was very surprised that the biggest teaching over this weekend would come from an eleven year old boy. Let me tell you how it happened. As usual a master of ceremonies guided the evening from a microphone at the head table. Paul St. Denis did a great job of keeping things light and informal and there were speeches on remembrances from family and friends. Just when we all thought speaking at the podium had wrapped up, little Daniel Lafontaine showed up at the microphone. Daniel, who is the 11 year old son of Darlene and Maurice, stepped up to the mic, pulled a piece of paper from his coat pocket and there in the spotlight, all alone, proceeded to speak about his mom and dad. He talked about how happy he was for them that they had decided to marry and he thanked him for being good parents. At one point a tremor shook through him but he regained himself and finished off telling his parents how grateful he was to have them around and how much he loved them. He finished, turned and ran up into the arms of Maurice and Darlene.
The picture of that little boy surrounded by his mom and dad will linger in my memory for a very long time. I just wanted to thank this brave Daniel for reminding all of us, who attended the wedding, that love is the most important force in this entire world. I want to thank him for being strong enough as a little boy to get out and share his deepest feelings and great emotion of love with a hall packed full of people.
Later in the evening as I was preparing to leave I shook Daniel’s hand and I couldn’t help but notice that a real peace had come over him. He looked secure, safe, perfectly at ease and loved. My wish tonight before I head off to sleep is that every child could feel this way. Meegwetch Daniel.