Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Wedding - Eleanor Shepherd

I feel reflective today. On Saturday, my daughter will be getting married. It is a day I dreamed of since my husband bent over me and whispered, “It’s a girl, dear.” I vividly recall kneeling by my bed when she was just a little girl and asking the Lord even then to prepare the man who would become her husband. I had no idea at the time that he was growing up, across the ocean, in Sweden.

Elizabeth has not rushed into marriage. At her age, I had been married for ten years. She was a two year old and her brother John was seven. I had chosen to leave the work world and invest my life in my children while they were young. She has chosen to invest in the talents that God has given to her as a professional musician. Our choices were different, not better or worse, just different.

The same applies to all the details about the wedding. I chose to wear a long white gown and have four bridesmaids in dark pink, carrying gladiola picked apart and made into round bouquets. Four young men, in uniform accompanied them. She has chosen not to have bridesmaids or ushers and to wear a lovely black gown with a red sash. Our wedding was in a large church with all of the traditions of a church wedding: entrance to the music of the grand organ, hymns, Scripture reading, repetition of vows, solos, signing of the register, and walking down the aisle as husband and wife to the recessional.

Elizabeth has chosen to look after the administrative functions at the city hall with her brother and her groom, Johan’s friend as witnesses. The ceremony on Saturday will be a simple public declaration of their vows to each other and a blessing of their union by God and the community of which they are a part. Choosing to have a wedding that reflects the distinctiveness of who you are is beautiful and sacred, as we have been created with our own uniqueness.

To Elizabeth the preservation of the environment has great significance. She will not be decorating the hall with flowers the way I did. She has chosen to use objects from nature that can be brought inside and returned to nature when the day is over. That is good stewardship, in my opinion. She knows herself and knows how to incorporate into this sacred time the things that are important to her and to Johan.

I am happy that Elizabeth has chosen to take this step. In many ways, we look at the world quite differently. The world that she lives in is not the world that I live in. It is not only that she inhabits the world of music and artistic pursuits and I the world of religion, writing and non-profits. She also is from another generation. She does not have the history that I have.

Even in the years when we lived under the same roof, we were not living in the same world. I was an adult and I saw things from a grown up perspective. She was a child and an adolescent and saw things from a changing vantage point as the years progressed. As we talk about experiences from those years, we realize that our viewpoints were quite different. To think that we really know our children is absurd. To think that we really know ourselves is equally bizarre. However, as we talk to one another and share deeply those things that are important to us our horizons are broadened and we are able to appreciate the uniqueness that each of us possess.

As we celebrate with Elizabeth and Johan on Saturday, I will know a profound joy, that in spite of our differences, there are things that blend our hearts. We have both come to value the love of a man, with whom we want to spend the rest of our lives. We value the unique contribution that we bring to that relationship as women. We value the relationship we have chosen to invest in and nurture. Into each of our hearts, God has poured out the gift of love.

“And the greatest of these is love.”

4 comments:

Peter Black said...

Eleanor,
You've set out clearly and with an understanding heart the need for us to allow our children to chart their own course. I confess that I still hold on to my druthers for my grown children.
Thank you for showing the value of a magnaminous spirit and a love that embraces,

Peter Black said...

Eleanor,
You've set out clearly and with an understanding heart the need for us to allow our children to chart their own course. I confess that I still hold on to my druthers for my grown children.
Thank you for showing the value of a magnaminous spirit and a love that embraces,

Glynis said...

You are a blessed Mom and an understanding soul. Yes, sometimes these milestones help us reflect and appreciate what a gift our children are. For a fleeting moment they grace our arms and before we know it they are off and making their own mark in this world. I rejoice from afar with you, Eleanor as you look forward to Saturday. (Tell me you are not off to Sweden for the weekend! :):) Joy xxx

Marcia said...

Hope the day is a wonderful blessing to you all. We've been through the process twice and have one more to go, some day down the road. Each one unique, gifted, beautiful. How blessed we are to have them for a season.
:)

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