H and I were married October 10, 1998. We were married at a turbulent time in our church's history, when a beloved minister was close to resigning her ministry. But, she stayed around to marry us (and to finish up other work). I picked one of her books off my bookshelf yesterday morning before I left for work. Almost my only leisure reading time these days is on the train to and from work. Anyway, her book, Souls Magnified, contains several of the sermons she delivered at our church. Reading those words brought me right back to a time in our lives that was so fresh, so new, and so much simpler than today.
We had no kids. No kids! We could do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. And yet, I remember that I always felt busy. I don't remember why, or what I did, but I was always busy. We were on the verge of starting our married life together, and we had no idea what we were getting into. We probably still don't, and that's lucky. How could we ever have imagined that we would have three children, ages 2, 4 and 6, when we were standing so confidently, so innocently, so happily, at the altar in church? How can we know what is yet to come?
I want to say a few more things about the book and the luminous writing in it. Gretchen Thompson, the minister who married us and who published her sermons in this book, had such a beautiful way of telling a story, of making the divine personal, of tying the mystery right back to our very own everyday, pedestrian lives. To her own life. That's why I loved to listen to her - I knew she was telling the truth, talking about what really happened to her and how she made it mean something. She listened to what things mean on a deeper level than I ever have a chance to listen. Her stories leave me, left me in awe.
Gretchen disappeared hastily from our church's life. I have thought a lot lately about writing her a note, thanking her for a beautiful wedding ceremony, telling her that we are still here, still going strong. We still love each other. Thank God for that.