“I’m not wearing underwear today!
I’m not wearing underwear today!
Not that you really care
that I’m not wearing underwear
but nevertheless, I have to say..
I am not wearing underwear today!!!”
– Bryan, by way of “Avenue Q”
Bryan and I had pretty shitty days yesterday.
I mean, Kari kidnapped me and we ate sushi, so that was nice. But other than that, our days were both just all around shitty. We’re both running around like crazy people, trying desperately to get last minute things tied up and trying to be kind to everyone we cross in the process. We’re not always successful at that, either.
Last minute photographer issues canceled our meeting, so I had time to straighten the house. You have no idea how nice that was. I opened all of the windows, turned on the attic fan, and let the dragon out of the house. Throw in my fantastic oil warmer I got as a shower gift, and our house was nice. I also picked some fresh hydrangeas from out back because I missed have fresh flowers in the house.
Then the craziness began again. Bryan left work and went straight to one-act rehearsal, I dropped dinner off for him at the school, then got back on the road. I had a half hour before the meeting at the church, so I set off to find a day-planner to keep myself sane.
I made three stops. NO ONE HAS ANY 2006 CALENDARS.
“But the year is not over,” I whined to any employee who gave me that response. “I still have shit to do, and I need to write it all down somewhere.” And they would shrug. Bastards.
Then I headed to the church.
I had actually been prepping myself for this meeting all day. This was, after all, my church and my minister and I wanted to make a good showing. I had taught many a child in the choir program there, and almost everyone in the congregation has heard me sing. My church. I wanted it to go well.
But, as it turns out, I really suck at church stuff. I mean, my heart is in the right place, but I’m just a liberal in the head.
The minister asked Bryan and I what we thought the word “grace” means.
Bryan, of course, rambled off how grace is something God gives to us, a divine peace that we have to be silent to hear and enjoy, and something we should be conscious of maintaining.
“And you, Say-ruh?” the minister asked me.
“Well,” I fumbled. Damn. He had already taken the God answer. I couldn’t just say, “Yeah, what he said.” So, instead, I went with the truth.. in my mind. “Grace is the ability to move with ease, and the ability to remain deft and strong in the face of adversity, but still move with that same presence in times of comfort.” Blank stares all around. I gave in. “So, you know, what Bryan said. A peace. With God.”
The men nodded in agreement.
We settled on the elizabethian vows, because we both felt that those words were the most reverent. We talked about what those words meant, and I stayed quiet until I was asked something, knowing that I didn’t stand a chance in this arena. I smiled a lot, though. Bryan winked at me when the minister wasn’t looking.
“Bryan, if you could change one thing about Sayruh, what would it be?” I just knew what was going to follow. Her ass. I just cannot stand her ass. It is frickin’ huge. Have you seen it? What am I saying, of course you saw it. How could you not?
Bryan took a minute. “I wish she wouldn’t put so much on her plate. I wish she could learn to say no more often. She overextends herself so much, wanting to help so many people, but I worry about her.”
Damn. He’s too good at this.
My turn. “And Sayruh, what would you change about Bryan?”
“His heart is too big,” I said, confident that I would come off well here. “He loves everybody he meets, and he loves them deeply, regardless of whether or not it’s healthy for him or whether they love him back. And when he’s hurt by people who don’t love him as deeply as he loves them, it cuts him. I wish I could spare him that pain.”
The minister nodded. “So, what I’m hearing is .. Bryan has a very Christ-like quality.”
WHAT?! “Um, no. No, I wouldn’t call him Christ-like, actually. I recant.”
The minister went on. “Christ loved everyone He met, whether or not they accepted His love. And the pain He felt was deep enough.. well, you know the kind of sacrifice He gave. It sounds like Bryan has that same attribute.”
Okay, I’m not including the good parts. Sure, I felt like a fish out of water, because even after that, Bryan nailed the parenting portion of the discussion (“Bryan used such a good word there.. consistent.. I think he understands what it means to be a parent.”) and I was just sitting there, nodding. But we also ran through our vows, which was terrifying until I saw those blue eyes staring at me from across the table, and I knew everything was okay.
Then the minister asked if there was anything we needed his guidance on. I smiled and talked about how blessed we had been with the birth and baptism of baby Matthew and my new job and blah blah blah, but Bryan threw out some recent problems we’d had with people from our pasts. At first, I was irritated that this perfect picture I had struggled to paint was being shattered, but I soon realized that we could both benefit from some counsel from a third party.
The minister nodded as Bryan spoke, and got quiet for a minute. “For sure and for certain,” he said, in his warm southern drawl, “there are people in this world who are so broken that they exist only, it seems, to remain the thorns in our flesh.” I actually exhaled a whimper at that point, because hearing those words, the words I had said repeatedly to myself to calm myself down and talk myself out of stupid decisions, hearing those words from someone objective and of-the-clergy had given me more peace than I had felt in a long time. “But those people are so broken that they are to be pitied,” he continued, “and I know how difficult that is. But we have to show them grace, no matter how hard that feels.”
He then invited Bryan to take a chair next to me, where our fingers intertwined. We bowed our heads silently, while the minister read first Corinthians, and he blessed our marriage. After our “amens”, he told Bryan to kiss his bride.
We left a different couple. I know how silly that sounds, but we left a more solid, calm couple. The wedding is just details. People are just drifters. What really matters, deep down, is us. That’s the only answer we need.