“You couldn’t keep Me away.”

Abigail and I wanted to get married and the only window of opportunity was semester break.  We learned at the end of December that the law required a thirty-day waiting period, making the timing almost impossible.  The only practical thing was to “elope.”  No announcements, no visiting family, a two-day honeymoon in Annapolis.  We would have a simple interreligious wedding with a rabbi and a priest (my own family background was Protestant, but he was a friend from my grad school days) and the mandatory two witnesses.  We barely managed to reserve the chapel in time and, when we arrived, almost late, a very serious young man guarding the entrance refused to let us in.  “We’re here to be married,” I explained, thinking our wedding finery would speak for itself.  “Yeah, likely story,” his eyes said.  “It’s the old dressed-up-like-a-bride scam.”  Finally, we persuaded him that we were not disguised Visigoths, and he let us pass.

To us, the ceremony was not just the last step of a legal process.  It was important to be married “before God.”  His presence was required.  Yet it all seemed so slap-dash that I actually worried that God might not be present, but I was told,

You couldn’t keep me away!  My presence will be fully with you.  I bless this marriage above all others (no other more than this one).  I will be present in every pore of your (plural) being.  Just show an open and humble heart, and I will be there lodged within it.

(At the time I hear the voice, I also get a sense of what the words mean, and show that sense in parentheses.)  It was a simple and beautiful ceremony, and we did feel blessed.


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