Monday, October 3, 2011

Moments of Light for the Blind?

The day my wife, Karen, and I were married, everyone asked: "Do you feel different?" No, I didn't. She and I were married the day we fell in love, I always felt. My love for her, before and after the wedding day, until this day -- and, I'm sure, beyond it -- feels more profound than it did when we were all duded up and sweating under too much cloth in front of too many people who we wouldn't have invited if we had really had a choice. (By the way -- I'm not talking about the spiritual union; I'm talking about the trappings of the celebration and ceremony. The spiritual side has an importance beyond mere ceremony.)

My high school graduation? Didn't care in the least.

College gradation? Didn't go. Grad school? Got the diploma in the mail.

I was told by many wise people that I would regret not having attended these graduations. So far . . . um . . . nope.

Everyone, including me, always talks about living in the now. Maybe I do it too well -- that is, if having no real feeling of connection to ceremony is a fault. But it means little to me, especially ceremony that marks transitions. I simply tend not to care.

I can't make these occasions, with their canned speeches and their nearly scripted reactions and their homogenizing atmospheres, feel special.

Shouldn't it be that way? We live in a world of with awesome potential to fascinate. No matter how nasty the news is and no matter who is killing whom over an idea; no matter how ugly reality TV is; no matter how many drudgeries are glopped all over us by the molasses crawling of the everyday, the world is a cathedral and a magic show that's always open for worship and wonder.

It's hard to argue that any one moment is more important than another, sometimes. At least for me. Each one is a thread in a glorious tapestry.

Why should a tuxedo or a cap and gown mark any moment as a superior one? An afternoon of playing with my children means more than a thousand graduations. Moments of affection or of conversation with my wife over a cup of coffee mean more to me than a day tied up in the discomfort of formality. In fact, the wedding celebration felt, to me, like something to get out of the way so we could get to the everyday life we were shooting for in the first place.

Call me crazy. (Whoa! A little less enthusiasm, please.) I think, sometimes, the importance we place on ceremony and and the marking of transitions is an admission that we have spent the other days of our lives blind, deaf and dumb to the majesty of the world we are privileged to have adventures in every day.


  1. Wow. I disagree with so much of this.

    First, I admit, we were married the day we decided to get married. And THAT was the day I felt different – to know for sure that he felt as strongly about me as I felt about him. To me and most women, the wedding is the occasion to exclaim and celebrate out loud to everyone I loved, that I was lucky enough to find someone to love and share my life with AND it is no small event. It's truly an honor for another human being to be cared for so deeply by another. Commitment of that nature should be celebrated with ceremony. Every wedding I go to reminds me of our commitment and how lucky we are and how important our vows were and still are. And I LOVE to see other people declare their love in such a way too, because I know how special it is. I think most people believe deeply in the ceremony of marriage. Why else would so many people in the gay community desire it so? Do you think they just want to throw a party? I don't think so. It's so much more than that (and it's not really just about the legality of it all).

    The trappings and clothes that we use to celebrate at weddings today may seem superficially insignificant , but they serve as ways to help enjoy, look forward and pay respect to the momentous occasion. It's really not unlike a tribal wedding, if you think about it. In other cultures and in the old days, things like rose baths, henna tattoos and flowers in the hair, etc. all had meaning behind them. I for one am glad this pomp and circumstance still exists in regards to weddings. Outside of funerals, it's the last event that people feel like they should dress up to pay their respects.

    And, for the record, I definitely am not the type who doesn't appreciate the wonder of daily adventures too. Each day is a wonder to me.

  2. Gina -- I suppose this is the standard "agree to disagree" thing. I figured this one was likely to get some opposition, and I understand that. The crux of our differing opinions is your idea of celebrating "out loud." I think we turn outward too much. I think too much of our lives is spent among people; too little is a celebration of true union and profound individuality. To me, the truly special moments are the private ones. (Hyperbole alert:) I almost feel weddings ought to be private; an agreement between the couple and whatever spiritual force they happen to believe in. I think looking to society for validation (as gay men and women are doing -- I'm not dumb enough to think they just want to party) might just be something we need to overcome if we are to continue evolving. We're so busy looking out-- Bradbury once said in some form -- that we forget to look in. I think that is happening to us as a society. Ther is so much emphasis on community (which is a good thing in many ways) that privacy and individuality are being forgotten.

    In short, I get what the celebration and ceremony mark and I get that many people are moved by these things; I just am not. And there are those, like you, who do see the magic in the everyday who are moved by these things, but I fear there are more who do not see the everyday magic. In the end, though, I'm more moved by a couple in their eighties who walk through parks holding hands and who actually look each other in the eye when they talk than I am by a ceremony that implies a magic tha, over and over again, ends up in divorce and unhappiness. How many weeping and smiling brides end up in a bitter divorce soon after? Still, the ceremony was beautiful . . .

    We fell what we feel, I guess.

  3. Part of the problem is, we can't see what's in people's hearts when they marry. I can understand poopooing those who compensate for a weak relationship by having ridiculous weddings, but not those whose love is sincere. Although we disagree, I challenge you to see how you feel the day one of the boys get married. :)

  4. True -- because of my connection to them, I'm sure I will feel what they feel. If they are emotional, I will be a blubbering idiot. But, then, my subjectivity will be shot, so it is a little different. Good point, though.