Reader Lizzie sent me this fantastic passage by Jewish feminist writer Anita Diamant from her book “Pitching My Tent.” In this passage she discusses the reasons why she married her husband, and had a wedding – not just courthouse vows. It is so lovely and wise that I had to share:
Why marry? Because marriage publicly affirms the possibility of moving toward another person without reservation. With that momentum, we are propelled toward the center of the heart, toward the center of the universe, and however far that gets us is farther than we’d otherwise go alone. Why marry? Because every wedding enacts a personal connection to the universal story of the human hope for wholeness. Because by stepping into the hyperbarically charged space on the altar (in front of the priest, under the canopy), the bride and groom join in a dance that goes all the way back to the beginning of memory. Getting married is an attempt at turning air into matter, transforming the ineffable workings of the heart into things that are “real”: the invitation, the dress, the ring. The words that constitute a wedding are magical incantations of the highest order. In the presence of witnesses and voiced by a vested authority, two people are pronounced a single unit. Ta-da! And by the way, the legal arguments for extending the marriage franchise to queer couples simply acknowledge that gay men and lesbians are members of the human family, complete with photographers, caterers, and the challenge of juggling Thanksgiving between two families of origin. Every wedding is an invocation of peace and wholeness and connection and joy. Good wishes flow from family and friends, through history and community, with wings and prayers and everything that might turn out to be holy in the universe. So that’s why Jim and I got married — to receive that shower of blessings, hoping with all our hearts to make them last.”
So please. Next time you feel guilty because you are stressing out a little about your dress, or your invitations, or your rings, trying to get them to be *right* for you both, and someone asks you “Why?” or “What are you doing?” Tell them you are attempting to turning air into matter, and will they please let you concentrate??
PS All you smart Jewish wedding ladies – go leave a comment on Ms. Diamant’s blog. Tell her how much you appreciate her work, because I think she’d like that (and I know you own and love A New Jewish Wedding.)