Monday, June 29, 2009

Thoughts on wedding and marriage

In the past few weeks, I have been to two weddings. One was for my friends, Ben and Amy and the other for Jason and Samar. I was privileged to be asked to chant the wedding service for both couples. I've given myself to contemplation about weddings/marriage after both of these events and I find myself coming to a different realization than I have in years past.

During my twenties, I went to a whole host of weddings. Though I did everything I could to be happy for my friends and my family who were getting married, going to these gave me feelings of despair. I went to these events single. If I did have a date, it was usually a close female friend where nothing would have happened. The things I hated most (and still do to a certain extent) about weddings is the immediate reception. I hate the receptions in that they are so formulaic, predictable, and, for those of us who abhor dancing, boring. You try to make up for it by having a couple of drinks (assuming they have an open bar, which should be a requirement. But then, if they do, they usually have really cheap wine. Why does everyone prefer chardonnay to sauvignon blanc? Chardonnay is disgusting! Anyway...) and socializing with people you already know. Then there's the predictable bouquet and garter toss, both of which are nothing more than spectacles to reinforce the "stigma" of being single. I hated this more than anything. It got to the point where I refused to participate in this. However, my refusal was met by scorn and contempt. I remember one time that when I refused to go up for the garter toss, everyone at the table, including my parents and friends would not just let it go that it was not my intention to go up there. But they kept pushing and pushing and pushing until I finally banged my fist on the table and said "no." I think I scared Mrs. Eicholz with that move. Now, when people get the MC to try to get me up there, I just get up and walk out of the room.

But I suppose the main reason that I hated weddings and marriages in general is because I was in a state of despair. I wondered why everyone else could get married except for myself. What made me so undesirable that I was stigmatized by not only having a date to these ceremonies but also refusing to participate in these ridiculous rituals which seem to suggest that singledom is not to be preferred, if not to be ridicled.

Since my twenties, though, I have not approached weddings with the same despair. I still go single and I don't care. I still don't participate in that ridiculous ritual and I still don't care. If I am to be single for the rest of my life, I think that that is not something to be disdained or ridiculed. It is difficult, but it is manageable. Granted, when your friends get married, it is more difficult to maintain those friendships, because your friends now have important obligations--wife and kids.

I am seriously giving attention and consideration to being a monastic. I will visit a monastery in a few weeks time and I am hopeful for a brief period of reflection and contemplation. If things go well and if I am able to build up a spiritual relationship with the monastery Hegumen, I may consider staying for a long period of time as a novice. It's not something to enter into lightly and I will only do so with much prayer and contemplation. But since I feel so compelled to do perhaps embark upon this vocation for my life, I think that I am finally OK with my singledom and no longer have to feel depressed about it, especially if I were to go to weddings.

This has been a very good revelation to me and I hope it works out.

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