Help and Advice

Kissing the bride

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Rob’s mother marries this coming weekend. Though originally set to be a June bride, which would have made it possible for more family and friends to attend, the groom’s border crossings were increasingly contentious as Canada is not keen on the whole “marrying outside your nationality” thing, although they are less snarky about it than the U.S., whose crossing guards are even ruder than usual to a potential non-citizen spouse.

We had planned to mini-celebrate the nuptials after the fact at Christmas because the bride and groom to be were to be wed two weeks prior, but the plans were squelched by a Nazi parish priest, who insisted on pushing it back to January.

Traveling through the Canadian Rockies at the height of winter is no one’s idea of a good time. Least of all Rob’s. He’s slogged more than his fair share of white knuckle high mountain snowy road driving and his whole being visibly sagged at the prospect of attending a January wedding in the Okanogan Valley.

“We’re flying,” he said.

Not that this is a much better solution. His mother and fiance took about seven hours between delays and sitting on the tarmac to complete the flight here to Edmonton that normally takes less than an hour.

“Maybe the trip will be a respite.” Rob told me as he eyed the Weather Network for temps and precipitation estimates for the weekend. A balmy plus 4C and rain.

He will give the bride away. His mother didn’t have the full on Catholic wedding the first time and is determined to right that past injustice.

Dee was asked to be a flower girl and she is, naturally, giddy with joy at the prospect of donning  a white dress and having her own bouquet. She was quite put out that I didn’t get her a bouquet of her own when Rob and I married. An injustice to check off another list.

My mother-in-law then asked me to read. I couldn’t say no even though it’s probably very inappropriate for a non-believer to get up on the altar and recite scripture.

Especially a verse that she refused to have read at her own Catholic wedding going on twelve years ago.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

A total load of drivel that has no basis in a non-Disney princess reality.

Love has, as far as I know, not a single magical property to make anyone less human. Everything Corinthians talks about is perfectly human and very much a part of just about any relationship a body could have from the one with your significant other to the most superficial interactions with the strangers we run across daily.

I understand it’s appeal and why it’s a wedding favorite. The day one marries is full of promise but also wildly unrealistic expectations of absolute bliss forever that shouldn’t be encouraged.

What did I choose back in the day?

Something from Revelations – which in retrospect is an odd place to go hunting for scripture readings – and the Psalms. One of those semi-porn things that David or Solomon supposedly wrote.

Rob and I had only the vows that the province of Alberta insists everyone use and are, frankly, the best vows I have ever read, spoken or heard.

People should have the weddings they want. It’s one of those things you don’t get to do over and not getting it “right” the first time can be like a grain of sand in an oyster shell for some. Not much of an irritant at first and not destined to be a pearl at any point down the line.

It would likely be argued that Corinthians is extolling the virtues of the Creator, but I think that’s crap. The God I’ve read and been taught about is a tyrant where love is concerned and expects way more than he gives back.

Aside from my reservations about the scripture, I am uncomfortable participating in Catholic ceremonies simply because they are sacraments. It’s not exactly blasphemous on my part but it is tinged with a certain amount of disrespect. But how does one say “no” to a request from someone ones cares about on such an important day in his/her life?

You don’t. You can’t. So you compromise yourself a bit because in its essence it’s not an act that affects my immortal self as much as the bad karma of refusing would.

In yoga, we strive to cause no injury. One of the examples my teacher gave was the story of a monk who accepted the hospitality of a family while he was on a journey through the mountains of Tibet. The monk was a strict vegetarian, but the mountain folk of Tibet are not and they offered him a meat stew. The monk was faced with a dilemma. Eat the stew and violate his own beliefs or refuse and hurt the family, who had no idea that their meal was an affront.

The monk ate the stew and considered it the very best choice. Between eating a bit of meat and doing harm to the good intentions of well-meaning people – the feelings of people win. As they should.