I am attending a wedding today. Here are my brief thoughts on weddings.
It is not enough to say, “I do.”
This bisyllabic phrase does little to encompass the scope of understanding and sacrifice required to commit to another person.
We don’t ask questions difficult enough. “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded blah blah blah in sickness and in health in blah blah and poor and blah and rich,” and so on. These pronouncements are the equivalent of used toilet, swiped along an ass and left crumpled near the waste basket. They don’t make sense. What should be said is this:
- Do you understand what you are doing?
- Do you understand what commitment is?
- Do you understand that by pledging your heart and allegiance to this person you will lose significant portions of yourself? sometimes irretrievably.
- Do you understand that love is greater than four letters and one syllable?
- Do you understand that love is ancient and precedes even the universe, and that when it happens to you you are helpless, like a kitten left upstairs in a burning house.
- Do you understand that loving someone, really loving them, is not the same as knowing them, is sometimes antithetical to knowing them?
- Do you understand that when your heart is hooked to someone else’s heart, it does not mean necessarily that their heart is hooked to yours?
- Do you understand that you will die one day, and the person that you love will also die, and that if you aren’t lucky enough to die first you will spend the rest of your days in misery, in constant search of remedies for you ailing heart, long walks along babbling creeks, strolls through quiet wooded lands, auditing the calls of owls and crows, the sound of oak and birch leaves as they twitch in the wind; hearing in the Earth’s natural sounds the voice of your lover; seeing in your mind the shards of memory that will rain down on you like shattered glass; and when this fails, if it fails, to soothe you, you will turn other places in the world, darker places, darker things, casting yourself off from human souls to descend into your own soul, to find there either beauty in constant pain or pain in constant beauty. You will enter the spectacular and dazzling world of chemicals which fuck with your mind and turn your body to mush; then, one night, when you’ve taken too much, you will lie on the ground with the world spinning around you, and you will learn what it means to be a single soul in the vast universe; and you will learn to love loneliness as you once loved its obverse.
If you say “I do” to all of these points, then it is safe to consummate the marriage.
Written at 1:24 in the afternoon, in my office, in Agoura Hills CA, just before preparing for this joyous and momentous occasion.