Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wedding Words

In the last week or so, I have been allll about our wedding pictures. I looked through the full album a million times, I posted them on Facebook, and then looked through those albums a million times, awash in how sparkly and pretty it all looked. 

But before the pictures, lovely as they are, I thought a lot about the beautiful words that our wedding brought us.

The homily about forgiveness and love.

People saying that my dress was so "me."

My mom saying that the ceremony was beautiful and just right for us.

Someone thanking me for being "perfect for my friend Eric."

My brother-in-law's perfect reading of "Union" by Robert Fulgham.

My brother's aforementioned reading.

Eric leaning over to me during the ceremony to tell me I looked pretty. (And I know he didn't watch the Royal Wedding so he wasn't even stealing this move from Prince William). Also, of course, "I, Eric, take you, Natalie..."

My dad saying in his toast that instead of losing a daughter he knew we would grow closer because now we shared the experience of being married and the comfort and happiness that it brings.

My maid of honor saying in her toast that when I talked about Eric I was "full of life."

Words like that fill your soul up with joy.

After the wedding, on Sunday, we had dinner with my dad's side of the family. We sat down after we ate to watch a video that the relatives who couldn't be there had made for us, with congratulations and snippets of advice. This kicked off an impromptu advice session from everyone that was there; from decades-long marriages (and my grandparents' almost 60 year one). We heard that there will be days, months, years, that you have be the one giving, but that it will turn around so that you are the one taking, and not to give up when you are in the giving role. To put your partnership above your children, and that it will be hard to do this. That you will think you married a jerk sometimes, and that's okay. To always respect each other. To never lose your selves as a couple so you don't have to fight to get each other back. To stand by decisions made as a couple, even when you originally opposed them, even when the decision goes south. To keep your sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself. Also my cousin went and made me tear up by adding in that she hopes to find a love that is like the kind we exude for each other. 

Wendell Berry, author of The Country of Marriage and general bad-ass of the written word, came to my class two semesters ago. He talked a bit about marriage, and how its this great big gamble. I had him sign my book and I told him I agreed with him and I was using his poem in my wedding. I think that marriage is kind of like jumping off a cliff holding hands with somebody. I think what I love most about it is looking into the chasm of everything that life will bring to your future, and not knowing anything about it, and saying, yep, I'll go there with you. I don't know what it's going to be like and I don't know if you will always be the same as the person standing next to me today, but I'm going to be there next to you anyway. The advice of my family could not have summed this up any better. It was clear that many had gone through tough times in marriage, but they were stronger for it, and were so glad to see us beginning our journey down that same road. 

Since he can say it better than I can, I'll now turn it over to Wendell again, with another excerpt from The Country of Marriage:

Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed,
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in.

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