The Search is On

For some reason, even though I never actually pictured myself marrying, I wanted very badly to get married in October. We had a good three months to make it happen October 2000. I was ready to hit the ground running.

My mother was not. She was rather appalled and said that couldn’t possibly happen. There’d be too much planning: ordering invitations, finding a dress, choosing a venue  and a baker and a caterer and a band and decorations, giving people adequate notice to make travel plans and…

It was a long list, and I was disappointed. I still had that sudden-rush bug pushed along by my father’s illness, but I knew nothing about weddings, so we planned for October 2001, and chose Saturday, the 6th.

In some ways, that extra year plus some turned out to be a good thing, because Jeff and I were having trouble finding someone to marry us. I expected to use a Justice of the Peace. Michigan doesn’t have any of those

Nannee suggested we speak with the minister at Tecumseh United Methodist Church. As the oldest living member of that church she was sure that’s where we should be married.

If it hadn’t been for that one sticky point, the one thing my father insisted on, it probably would have.

It was important to honor his request, as he struggled to understand why we could not have an evening wedding. That was mainly because the cows had to be milked, and Jeff felt attendance would be awkward and low if we did not work our wedding in between.

So, that’s how we found ourselves sitting across from a pastor and disagreeing that you needed to be a member of and to attend church to be considered religious. That wasn’t a breaking point. That came when I laid down my dad’s request.

I grew up in a Jewish home of tradition in the same way some Christians only make it to Easter and Christmas services. We celebrated Hannukah, Yom Kippur and Passover, but mostly not religiously. Just a gathering of family and food.

All 5 members of my immediate made bar or bat mitzvah, much like a First Communion or re-dedication. That’s pretty much where it stopped, and how I ended up uttering these words.

“He isn’t opposed to GOD,” I said. “My father just doesn’t want to hear the word ‘Jesus.’ At all.”

The pastor quietly looked down at his clasped hands, raised them to chin level, and tapped his fingertips together in the form of a triangle most often used when people are thinking very seriously.

After  a moment, he looked up and politely replied, “I have to decline.”

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