A punch(line) in the nuptials

1 11 2008

While I’ve been up here for Matt and Kayla’s wedding this weekend, I’ve been overwhelmed with thoughts of what marriage is.

Tangibly, it’s the sharing of everything; a weird sort of sharing in which more is gained (aw, just like love!) the more things are shared.  Matt and Kayla are hardly operating independent of each other anymore, at least on the whole.  It’s gushingly obvious that everything from the window dressing to the wedding march will be little more than, well, window dressing.

Essentially, Marriage is the ultimate comeuppance of human love.  Given that God is the true and final object for all of our love, Marriage seems to be greatest horizontal (to use stale analogies) love that is permitted, or perhaps encouraged.

Of course, as we groomsmen (all but one of us single) look at the bridesmaids (all but one of whom are married) whom we are accompanying up and down the aisle, thoughts of our own matrimonial ends (or beginnings! — OH, DEEP!) can’t help but be allowed to creep in.  Personally, I’ve been haunted by the level of intimacy these people have with each other.  To give of oneself with such unselfish abandon is as foreign to me as the thought of jumping in front of the president during an assassination attempt.  (thought: If S. Colbert were to be elected, would he even need bodyguards?  Surely the commies wouldn’t be that stupid.)

As part of me craves this intimacy with another (hot, please) human, the more conscious part recognizes that it is, really, this desire that manifests itself perversely in most every form of tained love.  As we headed to the rehearsal dinner downtown, my vision was continually plagued with women (and men) dressed (presumably)  to elicit illicit (BAM) feelings from men so as to boost their self esteem in the wake of intimacy’s short-circuited beginnings.

To rephrase: love is powerful enough to mystify me, and mysterious enough to overpower me.

Which is why I’m thankful that there are Kaylas out there who make the mysteriously powerful into the obviously blissful.  So, until I get back from China, I can kick up my feet and enjoy the less mysterious things as best I can.  After all, this leftover candy ain’t eatin’ itself.

Everything, insanity

14 09 2008

Vida fue muy sabrosa en la fin de la semana pasada.

My dad has spent the last six weeks or so without a voice. After another one of many procedures on his throat in an effort to slow the progress of his Amyloidosis, he found himself with but a whisper with which to communicate. As a pastor, this also began to raise fears that had remained relatively far from the realm of likelihood since the onset of his disease nearly five years ago.

Seeing my father struggle to be heard because of a vacuum or a passing car was hard. Knowing that his condition was the result of a procedure to restore his voice was one of the most bitter ironies I had witnessed in some time. After going through the fairly difficult process of accepting his hoarse-ish voice as a replacement for that of my father’s over the last few years, I began to sadden every time I thought about how much I had resented his affliction before it became severe.

My mom has been working hard in the midst of a flagging economy to limited success; her hours have seen reductions to the point where she was looking for a new job despite really enjoying what she has now. Her and our prayers were finally answered and fulfilled when she was given enough seniority a few months ago so that she would be able to maintain a worthwhile schedule.

I remember also resenting my mom’s employer over the last year on a number of occasions; her pay was substantially lower than he skill set should have garnered, and her work environment was often maddening. My love for my mother often made it difficult for me to be thankful for a troubling job that my mom needed directly because of my dad’s medical troubles (college is also expensive, apparently).

Now, of course, I can see how weak my faith was in those times. My mom is currently blessed to be working with friends on a regular schedule that puts bread on the table.

Today, my father preached for the first time since that last procedure, having “discovered a voice” that at first sounded much higher than his original “croak” but has since come down to practically normal (for an amyloidosis patient) levels.

As I was sharing a hymnal with my grandma this morning, I wondered how my dad must have been feeling. Surely, he was nervous, wondering if people would really think of his “new” voice as much of an answered prayer at all. Surely, he was apprehensive, wondering if it would hold up to the rigors of a long sermon. Of course, he was faithful and strong, and it seemed to me that his voice rang with a note that echoed what I have heard over the past four years to a nearly exact degree.

My dad preached about Ecclesiastes this morning to a congregation that has supported him in innumerable ways while some of us chose doubt over faithfulness. To be sure, I cannot say that God’s will has finally seen its fulfillment in the matter of my father and his voice. I still pray earnestly for his complete healing and the restoration of his health. In the meantime, however, I could not have received a more blatant reminder to be grateful for what God gives, and to be grateful for everything under the sun that God has given to us. The rather languid tones of Ecclesiastes 8 resonated this morning in an audibly iridescent manner:

14-There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked; On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility.

15So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.

16When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep day or night),

17and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover.

Matt is going to have KIDS someday. What? What? No. What?