Monday, March 31, 2008

I Got Married in the Morning

Well, the afternoon. And now ... I'm married. I'll talk about the honeymoon another time (Disneyland! I really need to come up with a blogname for ... er, that person I don't have a blogname for). For the moment, the wedding.

For the most part it went as I expected, which is to say that it rocked. There were a few surprises, though. I didn't expect to get to worship with my dad. But we did, which was really excellent, because nobody worships like my dad. I didn't expect the girls to have to fix my waistcoat's buttonholes with scissors and a hot glue gun. But that's okay. I got lots of compliments on it anyway, which made me happy for Thayet, and now it matches my tails even better. I certainly didn't expect everybody to forget about putting the communion elements out. But that's okay too. I value communion as something more than a mere symbol, but the body and blood of Christ are not grain and the fruit of the vine. We partook - we partake - of them anyway, because we are his.

And in the end, it was probably for the best. I would have been honored to have Vonsus perform our wedding, and I would have been honored to have the Cardinal do it too. But the actual solution worked out specially. To explain why I'll have to digress:

Not quite three years ago, The River (that's my church) had a message series on prayer, and one of the sermons challenged us to ask God for something really, really big - the sort of thing for which you hardly dare hope. They gave a little glass bead to everyone at the service, and put up a big glass hurricane jar at the front of the sanctuary, where it still stands. They challenged us to pray for our big thing until we felt God had answered, and when he did, to just put our little bead in that jar.

Those of you who remember that time will remember that Thayet and I were ... well, not going well. Pretty much everybody was of the opinion that we were bad for each other. And, just to keep the record straight, in a lot of ways we were bad for each other then (this is a useful lesson in interpreting the advice of friends, even when they speak with the voice of the Lord. Just because the prophet ties himself up doesn't mean you don't go to Jerusalem). So what did I pray for? I prayed for one day, someone to say that they saw God in our relationship.

And I prayed. And I prayed. And I kept that little glass bead in my special bronze box that my sister brought back from Rome. Maybe people saw it. Maybe they didn't. But the first person who said it was David Alvarez, who wouldn't have been there but for the communion mix-up, and he hadn't planned to say it. David's the kind of guy who knows how to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit even when he doesn't understand.

That's when I started crying.

I could give a blow-by-blow of the wedding and reception but I'm not sure I have anything to say about them other than squealing, so I think I'll hold off on that unless there's some kind of popular outcry. If you're reading this you were almost certainly there anyway. I will say, though, that the reception was an awesome party. Lots of people have said so, anyway, and I am of the same opinion. Everybody said you don't get to dance at your own reception. Well you do, so there. And ohhhhh, it was good. I didn't get to dance with everybody I wanted to, but if you dance, and you were there, you were invited at least in part to be part of the dance party. Because dancing gives form to the joy in my heart (more on that, hopefully, in the following post re: honeymoon). Because I understand the heart of David better when I dance. Your dancing helped me worship. Your dancing helped seal my marriage vows.

A co-worker asked me the other day if it felt different to be married. The correct answer, it seems, must surely be no. After all, if one has come this far, and if one has been sure, how much different can it be?

It feels different.

It's difficult to express why, or how. I have a sense of finally tipping over a threshold, and settling onto a foundation. I fit better into the world. As we sang at the marriage, here - here - I raise my ebenezer. This is where I belong.

But it's more than the feeling of finally arriving on station. I've felt that before. There is a sense of becoming that is different from other times in my life. Prior to now I have been able to look at myself and say, "I am this or that" or look back on a season of my life and say, "Ah yes, the Lord has been making me such and such." But I have never before felt these identity shifts in the way I do now, like I'd grown a ... not a new limb, that's too small. More like a new person.

Speaking Natalie that's now how I'd put it, but it describes how I feel. Let me attempt a more precise formulation. There is me, there is her, there is God, and there is a fourth entity in the room that is us, our family. The entity I refer to as "me" has expanded in a way I have no analogue for except for the Godhead; I am not just pledged to but am actually part of a real, suprapersonal entity. A living thing, not just a level of organization. It didn't exist before. Maybe it was growing - maybe in the instant before God joined us in the heavenlies it was substantially the same as the instant after. I imagine the same is true of babies being born - and that they feel the difference as strongly all the same.

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