Today is our thirteenth wedding anniversary. We planned a lovely outdoor ceremony at Meramec Spring Park and this time thirteen years ago, it was pouring down rain. While we still got married outside (in the dirty old pavilion rather than by the Iron Works as we had imagined), our wedding site was actually evacuated later in the afternoon!
When we returned from our honeymoon in August, there was a copy of a newspaper article in our mailbox. Our family friend, Lynn, had a newspaper column at the time and she’d written this beautiful poem about our wedding day:
by Lynn Saults
We cannot know what will bring perfection.
They had supposed that it would be a day
of exalted blue heights,
a tree-columned cathedral day
in the loftiest, most elegant
sapphire domed summer.
Sun blessing stone,
birds blessing sky
and in the gentle benevolence of that day
the bride and her ribboned maidens
would drift, pale and clear as flowers
toward the welcoming arms of her groom.
To wed in the blue and white
softness of a summer morning
would be perfection.
But the day hung like an iron bell
tolling rain, rain, rain
all down the metalled sky.
The stones stood dark and forbidding
as thunder upon the earth,
and all our tinseled plans
for a bright and delicate day
were washed away in gray cascades
above and below us.
Yet, there was another kind of beauty there:
Small boys slid like silver minnows
in that heavy green light between the trees.
Garlanded little girls yearned
toward the coming of the bride,
tugged at their mothers’ hands,
pulled at their mothers’ hearts
with the brevity of their innocence.
Family and friends gathered
and sheltering, made a chapel
of their bodies and faces and wishes.
There, in the unplanned darkness,
was unlooked for wonder,
joy beyond ornament,
song beyond instruments.
At last the bride came and like a white flame
blazed among her maidens,
in brilliance more stern and starlike
and vastly more magnificent
than the ribbons and confections
we had planned for that day.
She blessed us as she passed,
toward her waiting bridegroom
in the unadorned steadfastness of her love,
and in the wake of that radiance
we turned to one another,
a silent hymn of faces
now wet with more than rain,
having glimpsed in that lambent bride
the flaming sun heart of human love.
Small, fallible, mortal,
we could not have dreamt or designed such a day.
It was Perfection.
I read this poem every year on our anniversary and it makes me cry every time! Before we got married, people would say things in semi-ominous tones like, “just wait. After you get married, everything changes.” We still laugh about this—nothing changed except for that it felt really fun to be married instead of just dating 🙂
I occasionally read articles that say things like, “marriage is lots of hard work” or, “parenting and marriage are both very, very tough.” I’ve truly never felt like our marriage was hard work. And, while I daily feel that parenting is tough and emotionally very complicated, I would never describe my relationship with my husband as “tough” or difficult in any way. I actually feel like he is my oasis of calm, peace, and love in what sometimes feels like lots of chaos. He is steady and even and I always feel as if I can be completely and totally real with him—there is no feeling or thought or experience that is too awful to share with him. He has seen the places where the “meat has been chewed off my bones” and he still says I’m the greatest person in the world. So, while it is fully possibly that being married to ME is tough—I’m pretty intense—being married to him is not. It is gentle and sweet and whole.