Reflections on a wedding and pain

Here’s a little something from a wedding I attended in August of ’06. The mystery is indeed mystery and such joyful experiences contain much paradox when we pay attention.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Brian told me at the reception that “weddings are emotional times.” I think he said this in passing without really understanding the depth of the emotion that was existent in the lives of those involved. There was more to it than a situational display of feeling.

As I looked across at that the faces of his family while Chris proposed a toast to his missing brother of two years, I saw it well up and overflow. Pain. Pain that is always there, not simply there because of the wedding. I saw a wince, a cringing. I saw a bowed head, a covered face. A quivering lip accompanying eyes filled with tears. I, myself, recoiled with a painful gasp for air as I knew, and felt, what feelings emerge from such memories.

Weddings are to be joyful times, I thought. Indeed, to celebrate the end of years of struggling through singleness of my brother, Chris, was more joyful and exciting than anything we had celebrated as yet. Everyone was happy for him, especially his family and those of us closest to him. But I am realizing that to truly experience the joy, one must also understand and feel the pain. The tension caused by the mutual existence of the two gives life to the real and true intensity of the feelings. In the midst of this joy, there was such great pain. And I felt it deeply… raw and burning. Never, never will I make light of it or deny its existence.

For every new life and new growth comes a dying and death of the old. The transition of a close friend into the world of marriage leaves me knowing that things cannot be the same. Chris’ role in my life is significantly altered. The very real distance and pain of Scott processing the change alone, not knowing the pain I feel in his withdrawal. The wounds uncovered as my need for his friendship is denied.. The knowledge of change and transition of my life into a future that is beyond what I can possibly envision. Where am I going to live? What kind of job am I going to have? How is this man, being himself a steady and self-aware man, going to bring his being to a completely new and different environment? How long do I wait?

The questions go on as the days pass… every new morning is a gift, taken with joy, as I experience it new. The joy with the pain, and the death with the life. It is the way of things and I feel these tensions. I feel them so deep… they are in my breathing, in my getting up and lying down, in my working and in my rest.

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