I have a friend, a Facebook friend named Ruth who I haven't actually met but have fallen in love with through her whimsy and through what I can only call her kindred spirit. She uses the term 'wedding tears' when she reads something that touches her, or at least that is what I am assuming. When she writes those words, there is absolute recognition of what she means in the very heart of me.
Wedding tears. Oh, have I shed many of those in my life.
Happy. Sad. Joyful. Pensive. Hopeful. Wistful.
Weddings have always been a mystery to me even though I have attended several, participated in a few, had 2 of my own and been the MOB for one. But the mystery has changed definition along the way, along with the tears being shed.
My name is Ruth and I was a wedding cynic. My first actual 'wedding tears' were tears of anger. What was all the fuss? People who really didn't know each other that well were promising until death did them part and I didn't really think so. All that money and all those people and all those guests celebrating something that probably wouldn't last as long as the toasters they were getting. Oh, I was jaded, alright.
I didn't start that way, of course. I believed in all of it. I was the little girl that walked 5 miles into town with her mom and stood in line on sale day for the doors to open to the toy store where I could buy a wedding dress for my Barbie. The only 'store-bought' clothes she ever had. And I wore the slip on my head and clutched the bouquets of dandelions picked for imaginary weddings. I watched the movies and fell in love with all the leading men and cried at all the happily-ever-afters and believed they were true. I watched Sound of Music and knew that two people could love each other that much.
But I was newly divorced and hurting and thought that marriage was a hoax perpetrated on those little girls who grew up wanting to be those brides and not really thinking about what 'ever after' really meant, happily or not.
Angry tears led to heart broken tears. My best friend was in love and marrying someone I didn't know very well. I was afraid for her. I was afraid I would lose her. I was afraid of her getting hurt. And I wanted the dream she was buying into. She was very much in love and seemed to know what she was doing (she is still married, happily, all these years later) and I wish I had any hint of a clue to the mystery. My heart was breaking for a thousand reasons. She was so certain and I didn't know what that felt like. I was sure I never would.
Then the tears became scared tears. I was getting married again to a man who was my best male friend and who wanted the same things I wanted and who was as insane as I was to be getting married on a dare 2 weeks after we decided that getting married was probably a good idea. What were we thinking? I don't think anyone who knew us would have bet we would be married 6 months later and that included both the bride and the groom. Like I said, what were we thinking?
But the marriage 'took'. Moves were undertaken and houses were purchased, Children were born and raised. Fights were fought and reconciled. Separate ways were taken then merged again. Friendships were made and lost and kept. Parents aged and died. And 28 years later we are still together.
Tom is still my best friend and the love of my life. And along the way, through him, I have learned something about the mystery of marriage. It is no longer something unexplainable and obscure, but that which is sacred, which is what I always missed before. I didn't ever really 'get it' about marriage being a sacred, astonishing thing that two people enter into and that changes them forever. Before it was just 2 people making promises they probably couldn't keep. Now I truly understand that the two do become as one, if entered with eyes and hearts wide open.
And it is through Tom that I finally understand the mystery of Grace. Unconditional, forgiving, always growing, undying, forever-after, forever-more love.
Isn't she beautiful? The light of my life and the center of my heart. Remember the picture of me after the slide? And the expression on my face. Yeah. She got those from me......
It is a mistake when we wish couples 'happily ever after' because that is untruthful and unfair. Now, when I go to weddings I wish the couples one 'simple' thing. I wish them everything. Joy and sorrow. Laughter and tears. Good times as well as hard ones. Gain and loss. Victory and defeat. Because that is what life is made of and if a couple can expect to experience all of it together, then, truly the two will become one. And then I cry for all that they will go through, all that I have wished them. All I know they will experience together.