This Saturday will be my first wedding since I started at NYCC last September, and my first since my marriage ended, and I’ll admit that preparing for it has been challenging. After all, who am I to say whether a couple ought to get married or what they need to know to make it work? But then I remind myself that history is full of people who never married yet provided the same sort of counseling from a spiritual point of view, and I remember that in neither case did I actually get that, because the clergy involved were a relative (first time) and a friend (second time), neither of whom seemed to feel it necessary.
Clearly, it was.
Furthermore, every sanctuary is different and thus while the ceremony remains essentially the same, the logistics vary. Tonight I went out to the church and two deacons (thanks R and P!) helped rearrange the furniture, so to speak, because while standing where the Communion table usually sits worked for a 6’3″ man pastor, being at the low end of a sloping sanctuary isn’t such a great spot for this 5′ tall preacher, and besides, the couple heard we had a carpeted set of stairs that could come in, and that’s what they wanted, so I suddenly have a different sanctuary than usual.
I feel discombobulated.
When I last officiated at a wedding, I didn’t know all the things that led to the decision to end my marriage, but I did know things were badly, sorely amiss. Writing words to speak to a young couple came painfully, for I suspected that the vows I had spoken did not mean to my spouse what they meant to me, and I was lifting up the promises they would make, focusing on the value of those promises when times are challenging.
I still believe that.
Last night I dreamt that the wedding took place in an auditorium, and I was standing on the steps, rather than the stage, trying to conduct the ceremony, and no one would listen to me. There was ongoing revelry better suited to a fraternity party than a religious ceremony, a regular bacchanal. I woke with a gasp, needing a drink of water.
My words went unheard.