This past week-end, I went to my cousin's wedding. He is 22 or 23. I am 30, and one of the few unmarried cousins on the Friesen's side. This feels significant and a little embarrassing when we have family get-togethers. For many years, when asked about my dating life, my report was the same: "I'm very single, and where have all the cowboys gone?" And yet, this past week-end, having just reached the big 30, I felt anything but frustrated. As I took in the beautiful bride, the white cake, the baby photos, and the romantic songs, I realized that the appeal of the wedding is also an allusion. The wedding is only a symbol of a life-long marriage commitment. A commitment that includes heart-aches, frustrations, misunderstandings, selfishness, negotiating, and of course the good stuff too like love, commitment, and a life-time partner. But what do most people remember from the actual wedding day, but the beautiful bride. She is usually the envy of all the ladies (especially this one.)
And yet, this past Saturday, I felt no envy. Of course she looked beautiful, and I felt so happy for both the bride and the groom. But I also realized that I should not see myself as less significant because I may never be that bride. Maybe I will never wear a beautiful white gown and be the envy of everyone at the country club, but is not a bright pink top and short skirt also a fun way to celebrate life? And perhaps I will never have that juicy wedding kiss to the clanging of glasses, but are not my soft kisses on Grandma's cheek just as needed and desired? Is not the challenging conversation with my cousin about relationships as helpful as gazing lovingly into someone's eyes before the first dance. Is not my 6th grade cousin flinging water on me as joyful as feeding someone a bike of cake? And finally, isn't the leisurely stroll with mom through the golf course as special as walking to some exact spot to take wedding photos?
I don't want to demean the value of marriages or weddings because I am a believer in both. But I do think the day itself might be some sort of illusion, and I think I may just have found a way to live quite content in my current reality. I am not a bride that people envy or even notice. But, I was a bride in my own mind this past Saturday, and I felt very special, and I felt his love abundantly.