Friday, July 24, 2009

The Celebration of Marriage

I'm off to my nephew's wedding this next oldest sister's youngest son. I have mixed feelings about the event. I was looking forward to it, just for the party fun of it, until I started thinking about what it will probably be like.

My family has dwindled. I suspect few will be present that I know. It will be one of those events that leave me feeling an outsider.

I will enjoy the wedding, and probably shed a tear or two. My wedding was such a joyous occasion for me...I will try to see in their eyes what I felt in my heart back then. I will wonder if they truly understand the commitment. They of course do not see the heart ache that may await them. And that is good.

The celebration of marriage is a sacrament in the Episcopal Church in which I grew up. I planned the ceremony with that in mind. It was more important to me than any other part of the day. We had a trumpeter for the procession and recession, the church choir (that Scott & I were a part of) volunteered to sing, we had a soloist who sang the Rose and Holy Communion. I didn't think about how it might be boring or long to the attendees. Our wedding was to be about the sacrament of marriage.

When the priest performed the actual marriage part of the ceremony, he wrapped his stole around our clasped hands and bound us together physically and spiritually as we prayed. We were symbolically joined under the eyes of God. Even as we already believed we were committed to one another for life, this symbolic act had a visceral effect on both of us.

I wonder at the flimsy wedding ceremonies so many have these days, like the "rent a Goddess" that my niece hired to perform her ceremony in her backyard. Her marriage ended in divorce 3 years later. I doubt there was a connection...or was there, maybe more in the intent than in the event. I am a traditionalist in my deepest heart. It feels secure there to me. I don't doubt that others have their own unique ways of experiencing deep and meaningful events. They are what can carry us when life seems too hard.

1 comment: said...

I hope you had a wonderful time at your nephew's wedding. When I married in my early 20s I thought I knew what I wanted in a marriage ceremony, but looking back I realize the symbology of a more traditional wedding would have no doubt ADDED to the ceremony (and perhaps the commitment). Great post.

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