“I want the wedding to be so beautiful that it converts everybody.” That was my sister’s wish for her wedding that happened last week.
I had been to a wedding before, but that was a while ago, and I was too young to realize how moving a marriage is.
When my sister came down the aisle I wasn’t expecting all of the emotions that flooded from my heart. I was proud of my sister, excited for her, moved by the commitment she was taking on, and most of all I was really happy for her–marriage is one of those life milestones that should change a person’s life. And, probably more than anything, it’s the way a new life comes about, and nothing is more sacred than that.
But maybe just as moving for me was the bridesmaid speech that my little sister gave at the reception. She talked about how her whole life long she looked up to my sister and she talked about how my older sister was always there for her with guidance, friendship, and love.
I think our family is typical in that we don’t express our feelings to each other too much. I mean, we always say “I love you” when leaving each other, but never a speech about just how deeply we care for and love each other.
And that’s the lesson I learned from my sister’s wedding: dialogue is the foundation of love. The thing that actually contracts a marriage is the exchange of vows between the spouses. The love that is expressed in words by the husband to the bride, and bride to the husband is what seals a radical promise of love that changes reality and makes two people one.
Just like the bride and groom, it seems essential to our lives to communicate our love to one another. I don’t think we can tell our loved ones that enough. More to it, I think Augustine is right when he says “My heart is restless until it rests in you,” which means ultimately we need to enter into a dialogue with the divine as well.
There’s something within us that isn’t settled until we fall in love with God. God is the answer to our deepest longings, and that’s the message of the Bible–God is after us, telling us of his love. The Bible isn’t a story of our search for God, but of God’s search for us, and only when we enter into that dialogue can we be complete. Only then can we be fully alive.
My sister’s wedding might not have converted the whole family, but the love she expressed and committed to her husband was a witness to me of the love that God pours out for me, and the dialogue that God wants with me. God actually cares about me. He loves me. He wants to be in friendship with me. The witness of the love between a man and woman in marriage can fill our hearts and make us cry, but the love that God has for us can bring us into eternity–an eternal dialogue of love between a Father and his Son.