"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."
Winnie the Pooh
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Jacob and I in a horse-drawn carriage, traveling the streets of downtown St. Paul on our wedding night. Just one example of the many acts of kindness we received from friends and family.
I'm going to write down a few personal thoughts on this weekend, while that feeling of heightened emotion is still fresh. This was one of the most mind-blowing, intense, and tender weekends I can remember. I was left profoundly grateful for family and friends, for those who were there, but also for those who weren't, whom reside in the memories of my heart.
There were, of course, moments leading up to the wedding where I wondered what it was going to be like. I was nervous what the merging of two new families would feel like, how the hodgepodge of personalities would interact, how I would feel sharing such an exposed and vulnerable part of myself, up there for everyone to see. I didn't sleep the night before the wedding. Jacob and I were staying in the bedroom I spent my formative years in, which I shared with my sister, looking out to the same weeping willow I looked out to as a young girl. I was in a bed in the room that was the same, yet so different from when I was making those transitionary steps toward becoming a person, and it was poignant. The realness of it hit me hard in the stomach. I imagine it to be the same sort of feeling people get when they get “cold feet”, which typically starts a chain of doubt in the decision to spend the rest of your life with someone. It was a bit different for me, in how it was manifested. I looked at Jacob, and had no shed of doubt that I wanted to be with him for as long as I'm on this planet; but I glanced over to the closet that was the same closet I used as a child, with a large, very long, ivory dress draped over it, smothering that closet, and my heart of hearts sank to the depths of my soul. I put all of my doubtful thoughts into that dress. Jacob woke up, and looked over at me, and saw the trepidation and asked, “what's wrong?” “That dress is so F*cking BIG!!!!!”
The practical and rational part of me was happy that my doubts were directed at that overwhelming dress. There was the part of me that knew it was just nerves and anticipation of something that I tried to minimize prior to that night. There was also the part of me that knew how real it was, what it all meant. Because, of course there were the sort of distasteful elements of weddings present at one point or another along the way, but these were offset by the beauty that exists when people you love shower you with joy and kindness in their desire to celebrate with you. I guess I wasn't really prepared for all the underserved acts of kindness from friends and family. I wasn't prepared to face all the time and energy, blood, sweat and tears, that were shed for us. I guess, it was simply inspiring. And I still feel a bit suspended in that liminal state.
There were so many beautiful moments, that I can't name them all; but a few stick out in my head. One moment, that is so raw and tender, and representative of how a father feels when his daughter gets married, is when I watched my dad on his computer playing the video of me as an overly impressionable 8-year-old when he told me there were vampires. Of course he played that after the ceremony. But when he was quietly watching in his study, when no one else was around, I glimpsed, for a moment, what it must feel like for him.
I also really enjoyed setting up the backyard, before the ceremony. There was that feeling of a place when no one has yet sit in it. When the electricity of human emotions hasn't yet run through; only the anticipation of what could come, and it's a serenity, permeating.
The best part of the wedding was promising to Jacob, promising to stay with him until I die. Promising not just to love and be loved, but to continue along the path with him-this was one of the most beautiful things I've done to date. It's not all rosy, shiny, and certainly, that promise isn't always going to be pretty and fun; but it's beautiful. In a real, and gut wrenching way. In a really really big way. I guess that's why a wedding is just so f**king huge, no matter how small you try to keep it.
So perhaps that's why there is the fear of a sort of meteor shower at weddings. When emotions are high, sparks will fly. But there is also an overarching simple joy, coming full circle, coming Home. The only thing I'm left with is how beautiful it was to share this special, liminal time, with people I love and deeply cherish. It feels more real, this commitment and promise I've been living.
And, I did end up loving that dress.
Also, I'll be posting the text of our ceremony for anyone who is interested, I wrote most of it, and Jacob and I each wrote our vows individually. More pictures up shortly.