This week I was able to do something I’ve never done before. I witnessed a marriage. I have been an attendant in a few weddings, but I’ve never been the “maid of honor” so it hasn’t been my signature on that important line. But this past Wednesday I was honored to scrawl my rather untidy signature next to “Second Witness”. And the best part of the whole experience was the level of happiness in the room.
Because getting married should make the folks involved feel ecstatically happy. After all, at least at that moment, love is getting to win.
As I was signing my name, I joked about how terrible my signature was and a long finger stretched out and tapped my wedding ring.
“Oh, that’s nice. I like that,” she said.
And then I talked a bit about why I like wearing a low-profile ring instead of my original wedding set which is the classic 1992 solitaire with wrap-around gems.
Technically, I have a wedding band and an anniversary band soldered together to make my current wedding set and I love how it feels like there is no beginning and no end to Mister Soandso’s and my rings.
I like how in this photo, our rings make a bit of a Venn diagram which is exactly how a marriage ought to work, right? You, Me, and Us, forever without beginning or end.
A bit like how love should be when you get to do it right.
“Ours used to have hearts engraved on them, but they’ve worn away now,” she said and then pulled her index finger back to spin the band around on her own finger. The worn and scuffed ring was the same band that had just been slid onto her finger minutes before while sacred words were said.
The wedding I witnessed in the hush of our sanctuary was a legal and binding marriage between two people who first offered one another a lifetime of commitment 40 years ago.
40 years of love and support and holding each other’s hand through the darkest moments.
One had cancer a few years ago. The other is battling cancer now. My heart ached when her voice cracked saying the words “through whatever obstacles life presents us.” Because after 40 years, a couple knows that the next 40 aren’t guaranteed. Nothing’s ever guaranteed really, but after 40 years together, a couple knows to live mainly in these moments. To live and love in the here and now.
40 years together and finally able to be legally married, which is a beautiful thing, but not as beautiful as the sight of one long-fingered hand reaching across to squeeze a shaking one, squeezing until not only was the hand no longer shaking, but the voice wasn’t either.
Last Wednesday, in front of a minister and two witnesses, two people committed themselves again to be there for one another, through whatever life offered up to them. And no one can argue with that marriage — made before God but made legal by citizens who have come to believe that when two people love each other, they should be able to live that love.
Last Wednesday, love got to win. Again. As it should be.
Thank you ladies for letting me be a part of your happy moment. May you have years and years to be there for each other, through whatever obstacles life presents you. The hearts may have worn off your wedding bands, but only because your love has filled your beating hearts so full.