When I began this six months ago, I’d been on a cold streak of more funerals than weddings. Now unions are outnumbering wakes. I guess I’m on, “The Circuit – The Next Generation.” Nieces, nephews, sons, daughters… but not mine. Yet. Weddings are happy beginnings where two people commit to building a life together. Funerals are dreadful ends that signal the beginning of unraveling a life. Weddings look forward. Funerals back.
I have another wedding coming up, but I’m not looking forward to it. Sometimes we attend out of obligation, just like funerals, and often just as a show of support for the couple. We know they’ll need it. That wasn’t the case this weekend for Jakki and Steve, the kids who joined forces on Saturday. Earlier Jakki had posted on Facebook about marrying “the love of her life.” Steve didn’t write those words that I know of, but when he looks at her, you’re certain she’s his. That’s what you need… that balance. As the song goes, “one wing will never ever fly.”
I’m no fan of wedding ceremony, nor of churches, but when I attend either I listen. The priest in Berkeley, CA sounded like he was making a plea to mankind, not just a couple. His homily’s theme was “trust and commitment,” and based on his invocation of Watergate, loss of trust in institutions, and quantum physics, his message was for all of us in this dimension and beyond. Hey, it was Berkeley. Trust and commitment allow us to move forward and continue building. Without it, fusion is unattainable and particles disperse… according to quantum physics. (I don’t really know. I just made that up.)
As I watched Jakki’s and Steve’s eyes locked at the altar while the preacher preached… and preached some more, my faith in humanity was restored a bit. I realized hundreds or thousands of couples were getting married at that very moment. They all were stepping forward in faith. Faith in each other, and faith in building a life together. That’s what makes this rock spin. Well, at least the economic cycle.
Then there are funerals. They’re not usually planned like a wedding, but some are. My dad was clear with me what he wanted. I’m not ready to plan mine yet, but for years I’ve believed it’s scheduled for 2042. I’ll be 83 or 84. We’ll see. I’m not obsessing about it. Yet. However, the subject of pre-death (retirement) did come up while Joyce and I tasted small batch wines in Napa Valley yesterday. I’m not planning that yet either, but she is. She’s a planner who already knows where she wants to live and some of the things she wants to do. I wish I had that certainty. I sure hope she does draw and paint. She’s got a palate full of love that just needs a canvas.
I’m sure I’ll still be writing then, whenever and wherever that is.