So many beautiful, wonderful beginnings! The past few months have seen plenty of them canceled and it breaks my heart for those couples that dreamed and planned for their big days, only to have them torn down. In one way, I guess it prepares them for marriage right, a lot of curve balls thrown your way? That information doesn’t really help the poor couples though, does it? However, it is wonderful to see them improvise and start happening again.
When I was young and impressionable, I truly bought into the Disney fairy tale version of weddings and marriage. A couple meet in some great way, they have a whirlwind romance, they fall in love, have the big wedding, and live happily ever after. I write romance, I get the drift. Then I fell in love.
I met my husband all the wrong ways…in a bar, with my boyfriend at the time. Meet in some great way? Okay, not so much. When I think of our personalities it truly amazes me we got together at all. However, it didn’t take long before I wasn’t with my boyfriend and Jeff and I were married less than three months after we met. Whirlwind…check. We met, instant attraction, ran off to Magen’s Bay in St. Thomas, USVI and got married with the sand between our bare toes. A “lifeguard” was our only witness. The delightful local man sat on a picnic table smoking a thick blunt, he removed from his hair. Hmm, maybe we aren’t married after all, but I digress. I was standing there waiting for the romantic vows to begin and the minister would say the two of us would become one. Instead, he started intoning the words of Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese poet, from his book called, The Prophet.
He said, “You were born together and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.”
Yes, I’m with you. This is so romantic…Look at the beautiful water. I blinked prettily at my intended.
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”
“Love one another, but not make a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your soul.”
What in the hell is this shit?
“Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone.”
Alone! Oh, no you didn’t! I looked over at Jeff, who smiled and listened intently to the minister drone on. When I looked at the holy man I wanted to raise my hand and say, “Um, excuse me.” However, the man just continued, with a small knowing grin at my discomfort.
“Even as the strings of a lute are alone, though they quiver with the same music.”
That brought me up short. The strings of a lute are alone, yet quiver with the same music. That was actually lovely.
“Give your hearts but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. Stand together, yet not too near together; For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress tree grow not in each other’s shadow.”
Over the years I’ve reflected on the words spoken at my wedding, so many times. I’ve been to a lot of weddings way more grand than mine, with hundreds of attendee’s, beautiful cakes and decorations, and gorgeous people.
I had a half hour to get ready for mine, with a lifeguard sitting cross-legged on a picnic table getting high. On that day, I never would have believed that minister nailed our marriage to perfection and prepared me for what was to come. A real and healthy understanding to a real and healthy marriage. Not perfect, not happily ever after, but perhaps, reality ever after and loving each other anyway. Not becoming one with the other person has made all the difference in some pretty crazy times. Life has been an adventure, not one I would have ever believed or sometimes even chosen but definitely a genuine love story to last the ages. For that I am incredibly thankful for the past twenty-eight years.
So, to all the couples out there who are getting married or have recently gotten married, but maybe not the way you dreamed of…your oak and cypress sapling are just establishing roots regardless of how…Now, go stand alone and quiver with the same music. God bless.