I’m feeling spurred to write this evening, because I find myself feeling caught between two very different emotions and struggling to handle it.
In 42 days I’ll be a married woman, having gathered a few of my nearest and dearest around me to celebrate the union of my then-husband and I to each other. I will have spent more money than ever before, despite it still being a ‘cheap’ wedding by modern standards, and will have asked many people to go very far out of their way to be there. I would do it for any of them, and in some cases I will or have already, but it still doesn’t feel 100% joyous for me, at least not in this moment. I guess it might never - grief will always colour my experiences.
When my sister first died, I felt this much more than I do now, because I was in this liminal space all of the time. I knew what it felt like to be between life and death, embodying one but touching the other. When I held her cool hand while I still could, I felt it settling into the blood that pulsed through my warm body. Most of the time now I forget what that felt like, but once in a while it reappears. Sometimes in a flicker or a flash, and sometimes it settles over me like a bed-sheet, sinking into my skin until I’m suddenly wondering when I started to feel so sad.
As my wedding day approaches, this sense of ‘liminal living’ is getting stronger, perhaps because I am again in a very true period of transition. My fiancee and I have lived together for a year now, but I do see marriage as a separate act from that kind of commitment, although many cultures don’t anymore. For me, it is a covenant, and it is a promise to be more than just ‘myself’ for the rest of my life. As a Christian I believe I am in this covenant with God each and every day, and I don’t always hold up my end that well - and I know that in marriage this will also be true sometimes. Still, I am making this choice, and I am joining myself to not just one other life but all of the lives that touch his. I am committing myself to being there for them, and perhaps more scary, allowing them to be there for me. Sometimes being on my own just feels easier, but that’s not how life has laid itself out for me.
All of this is incredible - it’s a glimpse into heaven, on earth. I just wish she was here to be by my side (or the thorn in it) throughout it all, although perhaps more than that I wish I could be the same to her, when it could have been her time. I think I grieve that more than anything else. Through my own joy I am made more profoundly aware of the loss I, my parents, and of course she, has experienced. Now that I’ll have some time to breathe, with school done for another term, perhaps what I need to put energy into isn’t just pew-bows and name-cards for the tables, but weaving grace into each day. Obviously something is demanding my attention, beyond paper ribbons and fabric flowers done just so.