So…it’s the Monday before the wedding. What does that even mean? (Wow…that sounds like a bunch of philosophical, coffee-house, pretend meaning of life pretentiousness.) Scratch that.
So…it’s the Monday before the wedding. What am I feeling, what am I up to, what is kicking around the old mind grapes?
Well…by using the phrase mind grapes, I am obviously thinking of some 30 Rock. By the presence of Whitney Alexander in my house, it means I am still working my second job as a DMin editor. By the presence of James LeCroy in my house, it means I am still single and living with a roommate. By the text from Betsy I just got, it means preparations are still in swing approximately 800 miles nearly due north of me ahead of my arrival. By the phone call from my Aunt G last night, it means final planning for the Texas re-Wedding is wrapping up. By a good (albeit difficult) conversation with Betsy’s dad yesterday, it means that we have reached a point where Betsy and are to stick to a plan, even in the midst of life happening that will affect our new family. So, I guess at the end of the day it means this –
Getting married Saturday, although an event, is simply the next step of merging two lives into one. Granted it is a significant part of the journey, but it is simply, metaphorically, moving our left foots in front of our right foots, but this time holding hands as we move forward.
One of my heroes (Thomas Merton, of course), although not writing about marriage, puts it like this:
What I wear is pants.
What I do is live.
How I pray is breathe.
In essence, all of these things, these big events, these life-changing circumstances are part of a simple narrative of which we are a part. Yes, this wedding on Saturday is exciting. Yes, Betsy and I have made decisions that will make this day special. Yes, throughout the week family and friends will start arriving (and have already arrived) to make this a special day. Yes, Betsy and I hold that something special will come about because of the preparations that we have laid for the day.
But, today is Monday. And this morning I will go to work. And this evening I will edit dissertations and maybe even get to see my friends at small group if all goes well. And Betsy will paint some doors, hang out with Rachel Bliss and do other preparations that I will never really know about, but will be thankful for just the same.
And tomorrow I will go to work, and repeat much of what I did today, including editing dissertations. And Betsy will take on more preparations and hopefully spend time with other people and just enjoy being home in Grand Rapids. Hopefully she will be nice to Bella for me.
Then Wednesday, I will go to work. Then, Gaylynn Bittle will take me to the airport. Jay and Amy will board a plane in Boston, and somehow our planes, originating from different parts of the country will arrive within half-an-hour of one another. Apparently at that point a few of us will sit around a fire and enjoy each other’s company. Also, the Webbs will start their drive from Chicago.
Thursday brings about a whole other wave of travel and preparations. Friday brings more. Saturday brings still more. And so many of you will be making little preparations that Betsy and I cannot see. From John, Sheridan and Scooter driving from Chicago, to Deb flying from Colorado. From my family road tripping and hopefully eating some ribs in Memphis for me, to Betsy’s family erecting tents and putting in lights at the house. A few of you will lift up prayers. A few of you will be in a small church in Michigan or a tabernacle in Texas to be a part of our big days. Some of you will help us “warm” a house that I have already been living in for two years. Our roommates will be getting married. Other friends will be getting married. Friends will have babies. My friend Amy will grieve the loss of her sister. Other people will do the same.
But today is Monday. Today I will go to work. I will wear pants. I will breathe. I will edit dissertations. I will look forward with expectancy to things like a ceremony and a honeymoon. There will be dancing. There will be sitting and quiet conversations. There will be anxious moments. There will be heated tempers. There will be gentle tears. There will be big laughs. There will be unexpected moments of tenderness and grace.
Betsy will step into her dress on Saturday and feel different in a way she can’t explain, or even comprehend. Amy and others will help her with her make-up and hair. The guys will sit around for “getting ready pictures” when most likely we will all be dressed already and staging something that has already happened. I would guess a radio or a phone will be playing the Michigan and or Michigan State game while we wait…and probably at the honeymoon if I were to be honest.
On Sunday, the two of us will drive with Jerry to Detroit. He’ll go to L.A. We’ll go to Nova Scotia. We will land WAY past my bed time. We’ll take a cab to our first hotel. We’ll wake up late and go to the little tea shoppe around the corner, because Betsy likes tea. I will probably convince her to take a walk along the harbor market and drink a local beer at an Irish pub and eat some poutine. I will read some Wendell Berry. She’ll read some Tina Fey. We’ll drive up the coast to Cape Breton Island for the rest of the trip.
We’ll come back, do another wedding in Texas. Love on my family. Stay at the family farm. Drive to Alabama. Get back to work. Attend another wedding. We’ll do thank you cards. Betsy will apply for jobs.
But today is Monday. I will put on pants. I will go to work. I will breathe.