Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grace under pressure

Earnest Hemingway said, "Courage is grace under pressure." I'm not sure how I feel about that statement.  I think grace is grace is grace. And the key to grace is our openness to the gift. 

When I started this little "mini-series" I really wanted to talk about weddings and how complicated they can get without any intention. And how, depending on which "side" you're on, you can see things one way, when they are really another, or vice versa. And all the different personalities involved really make for some interesting situations. It takes a lot of grace to keep yourself in check in many of those situations and with many of those personalities. I'm not certain if maybe this is one of those events you have to live through to really get. And, yes, we've all been brides, but I don't personally know anyone who planned and executed her own wedding. I won't say "it takes a village" but it does take a willing family, or community of people, all in it for the same reason.

Since Friday's Supreme Court decision, however, I am looking at this whole wedding, in hindsight, from a slightly different perspective. We could never have known it ahead of time, nor planned it in any way, but Joshua and Taylor were married on the last weekend that marriage was defined, in the United States, as the joining of one man and one woman. 

Yeah. I feel like they made a little history, by the grace of God.

Backing up a little, Josh and Taylor were engaged a little over two years ago. Joshua asked and Taylor said "yes" the night before Doug's father died, and though we knew he was close to the end, none of us knew just how close, and Joshua wanted his grandpa to know that he had chosen the woman with whom he would spend his life. Joshua Paul is named after his grandpa Paul, and they have very similar personalities -- they were two peas in a pod. So, it became important for Joshua to let grandpa know that he was "set for life," so to speak.

This is before they smeared frosting on each other's cheeks and noses.

Thus the two-year engagement, because they were sophomores in college at the time. I would never recommend it, just for what it's worth. That's way too much time to spend planning a wedding, in my opinion. Pinterest alone will get you bogged down in so many ideas, you may never be able to come up for air. In fact, I would go so far to say, if I was doing this all over again, I would have never even looked at pinterest.

When Josh and Taylor decided to get married at St. Charles, Taylor's mother and I and a few others, include the prospective bride and groom, met with Sister Margaret at the school. Sister Margaret, besides being a Franciscan sister and the school's senior English teacher, runs all the weddings that take place in the chapel. She is an incredible woman, and just between you and me, I call her Saint Margaret -- she is a gem.

Here she is pinning on Joshua's boutonniere.

At the end of that meeting, where she essentially told us what was needed and ran us through a quick version of the Mass, she prayed with us, and though I don't remember the exact words, what I took from it was "the more details you include in your wedding, the more things can upset your day -- keep it simple." And those are the truest words I can take away from our wedding experience. If you are planning a Nuptial Mass, you can plan a party or a fancy dinner afterward, but really, everything after the Mass is just...frosting.

Speaking of frosting, the bride and groom choose to use the wedding topper that was on our wedding cake 30 years ago this November. That's our cake knife, too.

"You will reciprocally promise love, loyalty and matrimonial honesty. We only want for you this day that these words constitute the principle of your entire life and that with the help of divine grace you will observe these solemn vows that today, before God, you formulate." ~Saint John Paul II

To be continued...


  1. So happy to be reading this! Words of wisdom, from you and Saint Margaret! I so badly just wanted to marry my husband, I did not want all the fuss of the details. We kept ours so so so simple, it was perfect. The focus was on the wedding Mass. So excited to hear more.

  2. What a lovely mini-series you are sharing with us, Barbara! I love the beautiful photos, and I love reading your perspective. It sounds like many lessons were learned, and much grace was experienced throughout the entire process. I can't wait to hear more!

    Our wedding was simple, too. Our focus was on the Mass. Our reception was dessert and coffee and visiting. That's it. Greg and I went out to dinner (still dressed up!) afterward, and that was it. I loved it.

    1. I love the idea of dining out with my new husband in our wedding clothes -- what a witness! Taylor really wanted to change before I drove them to the hotel for the night, but I said -- what a great example of traditional marriage you'll be (it was gay pride weekend!). And they were -- got lots of comments just in the short time they were in the lobby. Who doesn't love seeing a beautiful bride and groom?

  3. Another quick comment ...Sarah LOVES the cake!

  4. Love what Sister Margaret said...so very true! I agree with you about the short engagements also.

    We were simple, Mass, only 30 guests total, dinner afterward...that's it...I think it was too simple though...but it's not the party that matters, it's the Mass, the marriage.

    1. If I had mine to do over again, I'd do what you did!

  5. I also love that they used your wedding topper, how very special and beautiful!


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!