7/23/11

Why We Need Weddings.

(Part 3 of Rachel's wedding series)

I stopped believing that my home dynamic would ever change when I got to college.

Mostly because, each time that I had feared the sudden shift in my home life, it hadn’t come – my 10th birthday when I mourned the loss of my childhood, when I entered high school and became convinced that I would then be different, when my sister went off to college and I saw my father cry for the first time.

And when I went off to school, despite my fears of leaving home, I stopped preparing myself for the dreaded dynamic shift. I stopped crying about it and reading about it and talking to friends about it because the very idea adopted a mythical quality – a story that you tell to children as they’re growing up to keep them from touching a hot stove.

I went home and ate with five family members around our dinner table. I went on “Mommy dates” well beyond the age when I stopped referring to my mother as “Mommy”. I refused to believe that any holiday traditions would ever be uprooted by change.

And I think that’s why it hit me so hard after my sister’s wedding, as she and her husband ran between a string of sparkler-waving guests toward a car that would take them home. But not to my home.

It was a moment that I wanted to be prepared for, and I wasn’t. I remember crying hardcore on my grandmother’s shoulder as they drove away – the MOH who just can’t get it together. I hope no one saw. Mid-sob, I don’t think I cared if they did.

So when the time came for my own wedding, and my friends’ weddings after me, I adopted a new reverence for the event. Not just because two souls are joined and sealed by a God who loves and blesses, but because we gather to celebrate a distinct change. The change that gives us a new family unit and matures our relationship with the old.
 
One of the lessons from my parents that I’ve held to is that we should be wary of comfort. That, yes, we should return home and take time out of our lives to rest, but that we should recognize those times when we have become stagnant. Movement, growth, change are all necessary to our relationships and to our own sense of self. 
That’s why we need weddings. Not just because they celebrate the two entering into a union, but because they represent, for myself and for many of my friends, the first life change that we choose for ourselves – the choice to love, to serve and to honor one person through all of the changes that follow.