Marriage has always seemed like a kind of death to me. I remember my father telling me after a fight with my mom, when I was 9 or 10, cracking open a beer and putting me on his lap saying: "Robbie, don't get married. It's the end of everything." Or something to that effect. I've never forgotten that, whether I want to or not.
When I met Debbie, it became clear--or, at least, more clear--that God might have another destiny lined up for me. It was not a matter of wanting to get married or not; it was, more, "Can I make a life with this person?" and asking myself if God might have opened this door after he had shut the one to the monastery. Because in all truthfulness, I did not really see anyone else but God and God alone in the picture. Who was this woman, and what was I to do with another human being? Would it compromise my spiritual life, or at least, the spiritual life I endeavored towards? Would it be The End?
I reflect on this as my own wedding date approaches in July. Am I seeing this as an end, or a beginning? Maybe its both, like, what is that, Jastrow's "Rabbit-Duck?" Yes, that must be it. The altar is like an operating table where a New Thing is born; it also becomes the chopping block where my autonomy, my fantasy of being 'someone else,' loses its head. This death and new life is incarnational in its sacramental character and happens simultaneously: I am saying no to myself and yes to another; no to 'me' and yes to 'we.' 'Me' still exists, but is subjugated to the 'We.' In essence, a WE is born, a New Thing.
When God took flesh, did he become less God? And when Christ was born, was he not a man, as well as a man-god? The two exist together. And so my solitary life meets its death only to be born again, reincarnated, and joined at the hip to my partner for life to be.
If I seem unsentimental, it's not because I am without sentiment, but rather, that I don't trust sentiment when it comes to taking such a monumental leap of faith; I do not want something so unreliable being my guide in my journey to the altar of forever.
Could I find happiness in this life with someone else besides Debbie? I'm sure I could. But the strength of love comes in the choosing. Just as God chooses us, I choose you. No one else: you. There is something very ordinary in that choosing. And something absolutely extraordinary as well.