This morning, I got a particularly exciting delivery. My wedding shoes had finally arrived! After months of searching the shops and scouring the internet, I had finally found the perfect pair. My fiancée, Freddie, proposed to me last August, and we are getting married at my home parish of The Willows, Kirkham, in May. The church, the priest, the dress, the shoes, the bridesmaid dresses, the hairdresser, the make-up artist, the invitations, the marquee, the band and the hog roast have been bought/booked. That only leaves us with the rings, the suits, my tiara (very important), the flowers, the hymns and the readings to sort... Only! There's so much to think about when preparing for the big day that it's easy to forget what's coming after it.
At 22 and 23, Freddie and I are, by society's standards, too young to be getting married anyway. We should be travelling, or chasing our careers, making as much money as we can... Not settling down and thinking about something crazy like commitment. My social media feeds are full of idyllic pictures posted by school friends travelling round Australia and Thailand, and how could I not long to be out there too, with no worries, no responsibilities, no (that word again) commitments? Sure, I could book a one way plane ticket to South Asia. I could apply for grad scheme after grad scheme and jump onto the career ladder. Or, I could, as Pope Francis suggests, "rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary, that believes I am incapable of responsibility, that ultimately believes I am incapable of true love." Well... thankfully for Pope Francis, as stunning the Great Barrier Reef is, I've always been a bit of a rebel.
Yes, I am SO excited to put on my wedding dress and feel like a princess, to walk down the aisle of the church I have grown up in, to celebrate our wedding day with our family and our friends... But I also can't wait until the day after our wedding, when Freddie moves into the home I've been busy preparing for him. This commitment, that we in our early twenties are being driven away from, has the potential to be more beautiful than any landscape, more rich and fulfilling than any salary. Once the excitement of the wedding day has faded, once all the cake has been eaten, once all the wine has been drunk, once my spray tan has peeled off, Freddie and I will be there, husband and wife by the grace of God, probably bickering about whose turn it is to load the dishwasher! I'm under no illusion that it's going to be hard, I'm an imperfect person making the promise of “in joy and in sadness, in sickness and in health” to another equally imperfect person. But just because it's hard, doesn't mean it can't be beautiful. As a married couple, according to Pope Francis, we will be "an icon of God's love". Wow. "The image of God is a married couple, man and woman, not only man, not only woman, but rather both. This is the image of God: love, God's alliance with us is represented in the alliance between man and woman."
South Asia, I'm sure you would have been lovely, but I'm actually kind of busy helping God out with His original plan for the world by preparing for a holy and beautiful marriage!
Sarah, 22, Lincolnshire (Hometown – Kirkham)