I couldn’t keep my gaze off of the bride walking down the aisle as her soon-to-be husband stood at the alter with a smile plastered on his face. She radiated beauty as she took her time walking toward her marriage rites. As she got closer I could feel her measured breath, her steady gaze on her love, and the sheer force of will in keeping back the tears that threatened to spill out of her eyes and down her cheeks. She seemed completely different from the girl I met in college when we both performed in a prevention through the arts group on campus. The girl I knew back then was a bubbly, quick-to-laugh, R.A. who wanted to be a teacher and buzzed around campus making stuff happen. The bride I saw walking down the aisle was austere, poised, and solely focused on floating to the alter.
The ceremony was beautiful, the catholic priest announcing his love of the spiritual and the love of the flesh, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the couple standing under the massive statue of a bloody and beaten Jesus. The two of them were holding hands, looking deep in to each other’s eyes and smiling big happy smiles of joy. Two people: in a ceremonial setting, wearing traditional clothing, were promising a promise out loud to all the witnesses in the church to hear. I listened to their vows of fidelity and trust and to promise to stay together for the rest of their lives, but felt like I was seeing a promise already uttered between the two, probably silently at first, but a promise that they both independently knew for a long time. The wedding rites were a ceremonial way of letting us all know they meant it.
I remember talking to a girlfriend getting married a couple years ago. She kept insisting that “you just know” when you meet the man/woman you’ll wind up with. I keep thinking about that “ah-hah!” moment and wonder if that’s not the moment when you make a promise to yourself that the person who makes you feel that way is the person you should be with for the rest of your life.
I am not an overly religious person. I don’t subscribe to the idea that an Omnipotent being will get me into a kingdom of heaven if I worship them, but I do believe that the reaction I had to watching two people, very much in love, tell their world that they will love each other forever, was holy. I believe in the awed feeling I felt when I watched them hold each other, that to me was the moment of the wedding, and any wedding for that matter, which transcends religion and becomes it’s own moment of purity. It’s a beautiful thing to witness, and I’m glad I did.
Every marriage is different, and every couple will bring their own personalities and beliefs to their ceremonial “knot tying.” The love I’ve seen in all the weddings I have been to though: that seems to be a very similarly beautiful thing to see, and all of them have that spark, that glow in their smiles and that energy to their step which makes the bride ethereal and the groom handsome and attractive. That spark will cement the memories in their brains to be recalled in times when all else seems hard and frustrating. I wish those moments of bliss on everyone! And I wish all the best to my two friends.
November 5, 2012 at 3:13 am by Natalie Allen