Saturday, November 17, 2007

Her Opening Chapter

I dropped into my sister’s new home last Monday. She has lived as a married woman for over two months, now. I noticed how her neatly ordered life of sparse belongings had blended with her husband’s life. Everything was spliced in that newly-wed hodge-podge of new individuals learning to combine. Her husband’s large shoes lined up next to my sister’s rainbow sandals, an artistic canister from her childhood bedroom holding his scrolls of landscape drawings, her medieval pewter cups gracing his sturdy architecture books. It looked tidy, fresh, organized, symbolic, like the first pages a good novel.

There is that moment when you furtively duck into a rich beginning of a grand story. You read knowing that the strangers in the first few lines are worth noting as they will become beloved parts of your imagination. In those early pages a small point, a poignant adjective can make the utmost significance to how we see and know and love these fictional people. Small things loom large in the first few pages.

Small things loom large in the first few months of living in the covenant of marriage.

I felt the longings for unity in my sister’s home. In her restroom I saw two towels in hallelujah blue and glory yellow beaming from their respective pegs. Their colors were so bright I felt like they must have just bought them, then I realized they probably did. There hadn't even been time for them to fade from washings, nor time for their to be worn spots or spills on their furniture. There was one little framed picture, one of the few earmarks of their nuptials, a shot of them coming down the aisle after the wedding, my sister looking somewhat relieved to be out of the spotlight, her husband smiling. It was hung between their two mirrors above their two identical bathroom sinks.

When Dale and I were first married people got this look in their eyes when we told them we'd only been married a few months. Dale didn’t appreciate it, that cootchy-cootchy-coo attitude. He did not want to become a cutsy spectacle for others to fawn over. But seeing the intentional merging of my sister and my brother-in-law’s worlds, I understand that the look of older couples on us was more tender than patronizing. I realize that they were praying and willing us to make it.

The seeds are there for my sister, there is love from her to him and back again. They are beginning well.

1 comment:

Gretchen said...

Knowing the people involved makes this post especially sweet.
I keep being amazed at how much sweeter my marriage becomes with time but it's fun to think back on those months just after the wedding with all of the change and poinency.