It is a beautiful spring’s day many years ago...the sun shining shimmery-hot and the world vividly green and rich.
She’s six years old and all dressed up in a ghaghra type blue checked dress...her brown hair pretty and pulled back in a bow.
Her brothers and sisters are dressed up...too...as is fitting for such an important occasion.
For someone is getting married today.
It’s the first time she’s been to a wedding and it is so exciting.
The party is small and the ceremony takes place right there in her family’s living room....the couches and furniture moved out for the day and rows of chairs set in place for guests.
She very badly wants to shower the flowers on the bride and groom and is upset when she is told...‘no...there isn’t going to be anything like that.’
But she holds her tongue and swings her feet in Sunday shoes against the rungs of her chair as she waits for it all to begin.
She watches the bride come with two of her elder cousins..past the rows of chairs....to her groom.
She watches them after they sat on the same sofa…watches them making room for the other people to sit besides them...their smile…nods….watches as they feed each other kheer (sweet) and watches as the photographer takes photos of them in the garden.
The bride is as beautiful as a princess in her eyes and both she and the groom look so grown up.
She always remembers that first one...snapshots of it distinct and warm in her memory...that first wedding when she was little.
And she dreams of one day...of being a beautiful bride and of a man to be her husband and groom.
She dreams of love that will last forever and be as secure as rock..hmmm....just like her parents... just like the fairy tales.
Time speeds by and as she watches…well...she learns as time goes by...that happily-ever-afters aren’t always a given.
And one day...that first bride and groom find they’ve lost that joyous-in-love and have become two-apart instead of two-together-as-one.
On that day...that little girl turned grown-up cried.
She cried for them and every other bride and groom that she saw turn away from each other.
And she wondered…wondered so many things.
That little girl in ghaghra type blue checked dress was me...over so many years ago.
I’m no longer a little girl – I’m all ‘grown-up’ though sometimes I don’t feel it – and I no longer see things as black-and-white as I used to;
I know that this world is never perfect and sin hurts...hurts...hurts and can turn two-together into two-apart.
I know that my MAKER never promises us happily-ever-afters....but I know that He hurts when He sees sin break us.
And I know that sometimes love dies...sometimes love is killed...whether by both or one.
I know this.
And as I prepared for our wedding....as my beloved husband and I prepare to begin life together-as-one....I can’t help but think of that first wedding I went to.
So joyous...so perfect...with every hope and expectation of happily-ever-after…only to end in divorce...separation and two-no-longer-one.
I think of it and it scared me.
I can’t control the ending of our ‘story.’
Maybe that’s what I feared.
I can’t make our love last forever because love requires two people freely giving to each other and if I force him to love me forever....it won’t work because love cannot be forced.
It’s a leap of faith....this loving and committing to marriage.
It’s promising him my love and holding fast to God’s grace and strength to do so....during good times and bad.
It’s believing and trusting that his promise of the same to me is true.
And most importantly...it’s keeping God as the center of our world and keeping Him our joint focus.
Love is an action and there will be days when I won’t feel like loving him...hmmm....
I won’t feel like holding my tongue against sharp words.....
...nor will I feel like washing his clothes or sitting next to him at dinning table.
We’re both human and we are going to hurt each other...we will let each other down and sometimes....we won’t act out love as we should.
We aren’t perfect.
And with that realization....we’ll remember....only through God’s grace and love....we can do this:
Contextual Notes to 'Smoke & Mirrors' - 'Smoke & Mirrors', (*A New Ulster*). Some notes were omitted from the book *About Time: Poems & Adaptations 1993 - 2012* due to the length of the ones that...
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