Last Saturday, my sister got married. This post, however, won’t be so much about her as it is about me. What?! She got a freakin’ day. I can have a freakin’ blog post!
Her marriage to Nate was not something that I was particularly looking forward to. On one hand I am happy that she had found someone that she loves and wants to spend the rest of her life with. As for me though, it was going to be an event where she leaves my family and joins another in that legal/traditional weird thinking kind of way. Also, it was going to be another family event that I would have to attend where I would again have to fend off questions on why I was still single and why I wasn't going to church.
As I sat back and observed it all, I did try to think on the importance of marriage and what it had meant to other family members, friends, and acquaintances that I’ve known throughout my life. I thought about what this all meant to me.
One word that is always thrown around is “love.” When you’re in love you get married. When you’re in love, you’re happy. Love is all you need. Love, love, love. A common reading that I hear at ceremonies and, indeed, heard at my sister’s comes from I Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind…” and every time I hear it I want to gag a little.
I can tell you, I don’t believe in love--at least, not in the more extreme and romanticized version of it. People love, definitely but I don’t believe that love is eternal. I don’t believe in finding a soul mate. I don’t have to look far to find people whose love died or those who have found new love in someone else. History shows me people coming together and then leaving each other. It’s just a fact of life to me.
What I do believe is that two compatible people can meet, fall in love, and enrich each other’s lives so much that the two of them together is stronger than they were apart. That with commitment, a goal, and perhaps a bit of luck, they can make it through the rest of this life together. Perhaps a mashup of two stories may illustrate better what I am thinking.
In Plato’s Symposium, Aristophanes talked about how humans originally existed. These humans were beings whose body consisted of torso, four legs, four arms, and a head with two faces facing in opposite directions. There were three sexes: male-male, male-female, and female-female. These beings believed themselves to be so powerful that they rose up against the gods. Zeus didn't want to destroy the humans otherwise there would be no one to worship them with offerings. So he crippled the humans by cutting them in half. Now instead of threatening the gods, humans are driven to find their other halves.
In Star Trek, the Klingon gods created the first Klingon and they were proud of their accomplishment because they had forged the strongest heart in all creation and that none could stand against it. The Klingon, however, started to weaken and the gods asked why. The Klingon replied, “I am alone.” So the gods went and created a partner which was stronger. The first was jealous of the second and began to do battle. Fortunately, the second was tempered with wisdom and said, “If we join together no force can stop us.” And so together they killed the gods.
Zeus knew as the Klingon gods found out, that when two people come together, they can accomplish anything. I may have a cynical view of love joining two people in eternal bliss. When it comes to my sister and now my brother-in-law, Nate, I believe that if they believe in themselves they can accomplish wonders.