Friday, December 26, 2014

To Awaken on Saturday

The Gospels of the New Testament are rich in parables but often terse when it comes to the details of the events they describe. We're given much detail on what Jesus told his disciples in the form of prayer and advice and stories but often the events that happened are reduced to the driest accounts of their facts. A thing happened, we're told, and here's what it was.

Lazarus had been bound, hooded, and deceased for three days when Jesus told him to come out of his tomb. There's no story of resuscitation, no intervention by way of sorcery or technology, just a shout - "Come out!" - and Lazarus awkwardly groping his way back to the world of the living. What he thought and what he felt at being called back is left as an exercise to the reader.

The film Interstellar is blunt in different ways than the Bible, and the personal feeling of resurrection or something like it is explored in more detail here. When Dr. Mann, presumably the last survivor of the Lazarus missions, is awakened from his deep technological slumber he coughs, opens his eyes, and immediately weeps with joy and gratitude in the arms of his rescuers. "You have literally raised me from the dead," he says later, words that speak enough for us to know something of what happiness lives here.

I think I know something like this in my own life, in the bond I'm about to make sacramental with my bride, Sarah. I've written about her before. There was a love conceived in Sarah and me that blossomed and grew and withered and didn't quite die, but for years it fell into a sleep one breath removed from death. A year ago it woke up, and we watched the perennial buds of love grow again.

Why did we choose this baroque cycle, wandering from fascination to love to indifference to (tomorrow, God willing) the love that's stern as death? I suppose it wasn't really a choice - no sane person would choose to repeat all we've done to each other and with each other - but the accumulated knowledge we found of who we wanted to be.

I want Sarah in what I am. I want her kindness, her gentleness, her femininity, her brightness of soul, her cleverness in me. This much is true, but it's not the whole truth. More than all this, I simply want her. I want her in my life and I want to weave my life into hers.

When we dated the first time, in the twilight of our teen years as we first grappled with the problems of adulthood, I glimpsed something in her. How do I describe it? It was lovely and resistant to reduction; it was what it was. I saw Sarah for all the beauty and wonder that every human being is. But Sarah was my human, and I could do nothing honest but love her in response.

When we didn't date, I accepted that and tried to move on. We dated other people. We moved away, Sarah to Houston and me to Seattle. We continued building our lives separately, linked by the faintest bonds of friendship. There's more to the story than just this, but the tl;dr summary is that when I became Catholic it resolved the most significant extant conflict between us, and we decided to see if something more than friendship made sense. Suffice it to say it did, and I wept happy tears that our love was breathing the air of life again.

Why do I want to marry Sarah? There are many ways I could answer. I want to make her life better, to help her achieve her childhood dreams. I think she’ll make my life better. There’s no one I’d rather start a family with and see mother my children than Sarah. I love the simple joy of feeling closeness to her in body and soul. These are all true, logical, and rational, but the deepest truth is something less amenable to words. I feel a lightness in the heart, a longing deep inside, a thirst for beauty created at the thought of joining our lives together.

So Sarah is the one for me. I offer all that I am, confident of my strengths, trembling at the knowledge of my flaws, to her. I pray for intercession that I might grow to be the husband she needs and in thanksgiving that I will have her as my wife. For as long as we have to be spouses to one another, let the words of adoration, love, companionship, and caring for her always be on my tongue. My life is blessed with riches beyond measure, and the greatest of them is the woman who will soon be my wife.

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