I experienced a new wedding-related emotion today: Grief.
I hesitate to share that for several reasons, the foremost of which is “it’s not about me.” It’s a joyous time, anticipating and counting down to the wedding of our youngest daughter, Natasha Jackson, to her happily-ever-after-guy, Kory Myrick. We’re three days away.
I know the right way to feel – the best way to see it. But indulge me a moment of selfishness here. I’m starting to feel a loss. First of all, I don’t handle change very well; I’ve not often bucked the status quo. It usually bucks me.
Life’s like that. (See Wrecking ball No. 9 – Resist change).
I’ll minimize this feeling for a second while pointing out that Natasha left home seven years ago to embark on college, jobs and life, returning home for summers and semester breaks. She spread her wings long ago, but she’s been back in the nest – temporarily, I know – since July.
Saturday afternoon, she’s flying away for good, officially sealed as somebody else’s girl. Sure, she’s 26. A grown woman. Her heart has been seasoned by love and endured many seasons of pain, but she’s strong, resourceful and quite a catch for her Mr. Myrick. My girl will become Kory’s wife.
Those two will forge their way through life, discovering new depths of their hearts and exploring the unchartered – for them – territory of marriage. I get great confidence in knowing that they see this contractual arrangement of life together – marriage – as a bond of Holy Matrimony. It will be a legal declaration of togetherness to the state of Missouri, but they are connected to a perfect Father, to whom they are accountable – a much greater force than a legally-binding marriage license.
I know all that, I do.
I also know that earlier tonight as I stood watering the garden, with its end-of-summer, drooping sunflowers bowing low, I cried – grieved. Was this the reason for my moodiness and brusque tone these last few days? At least I recognize that.
So, yes, I know the right answers, the right feelings and I – we, both Kelly and I – have offered our blessing for the union of Natasha and Kory.
But for now, today, I’m grieving. In three days, I give away my little girl.
“How to Wreck Your Marriage”
Wrecking ball No. 14 – Hide your feelings. Pretend that everything’s OK – especially when it is absolutely not OK.
It’s a concrete-heavy mask to wear, but when you get the hang of it, you’re strong enough to wear an array of masks that let the world know you’re tough, you’ve got it all figured out, and “everything’s OK.” You assume that everyone else has it figured out, too, and you can’t let yourself consider the possibility that everyone else – including you – desperately wants to admit that they’re insecure, overwhelmed and mostly clueless about life and love.
But hide that. Just as some wrecks don’t make a car undriveable, this wrecking ball can pound away for years, generating misery, resentment and despair.
Put on your best face for your spouse, your in-laws and, someday, for your children. In fact, teach them to mask their feelings, too.
It’s a heavy, heavy, demanding mask.
From 1981 – the year I graduated from high school. Love the hair, the synthesizer, the memories. Foreigner, “Waiting For a Girl Like You.”
Rock on, dudes!