By Louise McEwan
My year of weddings
It’s been a year of weddings for our family. Within a 10-month period, our eldest son, our daughter, and a sister tied the knot. I have come to associate each of those events with a particular symbol.
The marriage journey takes a couple to unexpected places. Along the way, a married couple may have to discard some of the proverbial baggage from the past, acquire new bags and repack. A marriage is a journey of mutual wonder when the suitcase is packed with the attributes of a loving relationship, with virtues such as patience, kindness, humility and selflessness.
Rocks (not the sparkly variety) became the predominant symbol for another one of our weddings. Rocks are essential elements in construction. When hewn into blocks, rocks become cornerstones.
Rocks, in the form of gravel,
are an integral component of the concrete used in foundations. Rocks
form walls that provide stability against erosion, and give shape to
gardens and landscapes. The solid and enduring nature of a rock makes
it an excellent symbol for the commitment required of marriage.
The couple at this wedding had chosen a parable from the Gospel of Matthew. A wise man builds his house on rock, so when the storms come and beat against the walls of the house, the house remains intact.
A good marriage
is like a house built on rock. As the pastor at this wedding remarked,
there are three rocks that are essential for a life-giving marriage:
trust, forgiveness and fidelity.
In what was surely an inspired moment, a family member
brought three rocks, labelled “trust,” “forgiveness” and “fidelity” respectively,
to the reception, and invited everyone to sign a rock. The rock that
quickly became crowded with names was “forgiveness.” Maybe
this was due to the comment that “there is no love without forgiveness,” or
maybe the desire for forgiveness resonates with our experience of relationship.
These rocks will find a home in the couples’ garden
where they will be a visual reminder of the promises they made on their
wedding day. The sincere attempt to live their promises will help them
to weather the storms that life offers up.
In a perfect world, every marriage would be built on mutual patience,
kindness, humility and respect, and every couple would be perfect soul
mates. Alas, we live in an imperfect world, where sometimes the rigours
of the journey, and the baggage that we pack around with us, erode the
beauty of the relationship that a couple embraces on their wedding day.
The three symbols in my year of weddings, the knot, the rocks and the suitcase, remind me that the wedding day is an exciting point of departure. The destination is the sincere attempt to live the vows over the course of the journey. With a securely fastened suitcase that includes trust, forgiveness, and fidelity, the couple is well on their way.
Trail, BC, resident Louise McEwan is a freelance writer, religion columnist and catechist. She has degrees in English and theology and is a former teacher. She blogs at www.faithcolouredglasses.blogspot.ca. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org