I have a number of things to say about this past week (no surprise there). The first is that my former dissertation chair and current boss at IAS said to me, when I wanted to schedule meetings the week after the weeding, “No, trust me. You will need more than a week.”
In my naiveté and slight arrogance, I thought, “Uh, no I don’t. It’s just a party and celebration, and Jonathan and I have been married for centuries.” Yes, I said that. We have. We both remember. Some iterations of “us” were better than others—in particular those in which we didn’t kill each other or abandon one another. This is one of the best ones. And yes, there is a fable coming about it. Anyway, here’s what I underestimated and observed, and why I should probably listen to my always-wise former dissertation chair:
1. The gods…thanks for bringing the Scottish weather to the usually balmy low country on my wedding day. I realize there were gorgeous kilts and I made the guests participate in a 5 element “pebble toss” and therefore, I don’t think the atmosphere could resist but bring on the misty, blustery cold—but sheesh! I have essential tremors, so, cold, wind and rain just makes me turn into my own personal earthquake. Not terribly pretty when trying to either read one’s vows or hold one’s champaign flute during the toast.
2. How overwhelming and consuming gratitude can be. There aren’t enough thank you’s for what I have thanks for. My sister, Lara…I don’t have any clue what to say. Nearly single handedly, and just having kicked cancer’s butt, she planned most of the wedding. And by “planned”, I mean planned, arranged, handled, orchestrated, everything—from food, to rowdy friends (imagine that. Who me? Have some rowdy friends?), tables, heaters, drop offs pick ups etc….I don’t even know half of what she did. All I know is that it worked. That’s just one person. My parents. Oy. What to say? I’ve never lacked for their love or help, but this was that amplified by a thousand. My friends, who came in from near, but also the many who flew themselves in from far (would that I were wealthy, I would’ve flown them all in myself), over a week later, I am drenched in happiness and humbled by thankfulness. I hope that never changes. The hosts? Again, what to say. I don’t think one can get much more gracious or accommodating. But enough. I’ve left many gratitudes out of this so as not to get too saccharine and list-y.
3. So I was pretty certain that nothing would change between, well, really any of us. My friend of nearly 20 years was my “best butch,” my oldest friend as well as the already mentioned sister stood up for me as my part of the “bridal” party, our officiator and I have run the gamut of relational iterations (other than romantic), from master-student, employer-employee, mutual sanctuary-providers, dream-whisperers, and deep deep friends. So, what could possibly change? Jonathan and I, as I said, and meant quite literally, have been married for centuries and best friends in this life for nearly 20 years.
This was supposed to be a purely ceremonial occasion—after all that history, what could happen that hasn’t already? But you know what? Things did change. All of the old relationships shifted a bit and new ones, ones that should take years, formed, but they did so in hours. Life times brewed their potions.
But I suppose the most important shift is that, being married, having gone through that crucible, —oh wait, ceremony— it makes both of us feel warmer. We feel…for lack anything poetic…better…as though some how all of the love and goodness exchanged that day between so many people, all of that ritual, which was beautiful and moving, zipped up any gaps remaining open between our souls. It took a lot of loving people to pull that zipper all the way up. Thank you. Strangely, I feel different. I feel better. I feel, now, like an ingredient in a really delicious and huge pot of stew. And I love stews.