Thursday, December 5, 2013

Prayer for the married people

A couple months ago, I wrote about my lovely, sad, joyous, challenging first year of marriage. This summer, I went to seven weddings. This post is for all the lovely folks whose weddings I attended this summer (and whose weddings I couldn’t make it to!). Not because I pretend to know a lot about marriage, just because I am on this journey with you.

You looked stunning. Your face got sore from smiling for too many pictures. You did not trip as you walked down the aisle, and you did not drop the rings or forget your vows or stutter as you said I do. Thankfully, it did not rain. There were happy tears. The music was lovely, and your eyes sparkled like the champagne as you looked at each other. The toasts were too long, only because someone loved you enough to talk about you that much.

I also had tears in my eyes in a moment or two. And I laughed and danced and drank one glass too much wine and toasted you into your new beginning.

When it was all over, I was sitting by a river watching ships go by, and a shadow crossed my mind and I thought, 50% don’t make it. And I thought, but not them, Lord, please not them, and please not me, by your mercy. I thought, they are such wonderful people, and they love each other so much and hope for so much, careers and houses and travel and children and love and light. I thought, marriage isn’t easy, and we are all so fragile, but it is the moments of grace, and the great cloud of witnesses among and above us, and the love of God that carries us through.

Life is full of curve balls, but I know you’ll learn to catch them. Sure, you’ll fight, and sure, you’ll want to give up. And then you will whisper quietly in the bed one night, or sip coffee in the slanted morning sun rays and it will be okay again. You will mourn together, and sometimes one of you will feel alone in your mourning.  You will rejoice together, and sometimes one of you will feel alone in your rejoicing.  You will make difficult decisions, and it will feel like you are the one sacrificing most of the time. Then one day you will spill it all, and you will feel known and understood as you never thought possible.

But no matter which part you’re in, know this. You made your promises to each other, but you did not make them alone. We were there, and we love you, and this is our prayer for you today:

To create rituals and memories that are yours.
To look for little ways to serve each other.
To eat dessert.
To speak your sorrow even when it feels too heavy to speak.
To make a family, a work, a cause, a purpose you can work towards, together.
To support each other even when you don’t agree.
To tell the truth.
To look at each other in public with knowing glances that no one else can understand.
To find, in whatever place you’re in, a community of friends and family—people you can laugh with, people you can sit up with, late and sleepy, feeling known and loved.

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