Friday, January 18, 2008

Number 2: Rehearsing


It's 1:11 AM and I'm beat.

We've just returned from the rehearsal dinner. So beautiful: the food, the home (a restored historic home), the friends, the words, the table settings, the calligraphied placecards. Oy! But tomorrow is the rehearsal, Sunday the wedding. I'm sorry I haven't been able to interact more with the comments. I'm barely eeking these entries out. I should be in bed. But I'm doing it half as an act of discipleship, half as a gift to my future self standing on the other side of this mysterious, utterly other wall called Marriage.

As I was thinking about our rehearsal dinner, though, I got to wondering about this thing we do quite often but perhaps don't actually notice: rehearsing. Preachers rehearse sermons. I've acted plenty and rehearsed lines up to a hundred times just to get them right. We rehearse the consumation of Christ's Kingdom in the Lord's Supper. Athletes and dancers rehearse their routines before performance.
But what trips me up is this feeling that the actual event comes and goes so quickly that I'm left disappointed, even upset.

All this rehearsing happens, then the event, boom, comes and goes, and is gone. My disappointment kicks in either because all my faculties are not properly engaged--and so I'm reduced to living a partly distracted, instead of savorful life--or because I'm thinking about the event wrongly. For now I'll say it's probably both.

So as I ground my way through another day of to-do lists I kept offering little prayers to God. God, help me figure this out. How should I be thinking about it? And He did help me, in a manner of speaking. The insight given was this: the rehearsing is the good stuff too. And then the lightning bolt struck. "So thaaaaat's what people mean when they say cliches like it's all about the process, not just the product." It's really true.

Phaedra and I and all our friends and family are rehearsing tomorrow afternoon so we know where to stand, what to say, when, how and why. We really do want a smooth-flowing ceremony. And the ceremony matters--a lot. Those vows are there for a purpose. Events matter. Products matter.

But I need to keep reminding myself that rehearsing isn't half-living, it too is full-living. In a sense, then, I don't have to rehearse, I get to rehearse.

And maybe even better: a really great human life is not one expunged of rehearsing, a really great human life is one that is full of rehearsing. The media can trick me into thinking otherwise, with its finely polished final products. But balderdash on that. I need to keep resisting that way of seeing my life.

So the Gospel for me tonight is that Phaedra and I will get to rehearse a whole bunch of stuff the rest of our life and that will be the good life too. And so be it.

3 comments:

livingpalm said...

For your future reference! : )
in reading these posts, i find myself nodding my head and exclaiming things like "Oh, yes, that's exactly it!" I also feel a little bit like one of those stereotyped old and crinkly wisened mamas,"tsk, tsking" and nodding comments like "that's right, honey". (for some reason all I can picture is Maya Angelou!) Anyway, I think that is because you, David, are vulnerably and poignantly expressing hopes and fears that are common to so many of us -- putting a voice to them. The other morning I was telling my husband about your posts and telling him how hearing your story, your experiences leading up to tomorrow's wedding gave me such pause to thank Abba for the hope that your marriage to Phaedra -- in all of it's God-honoring risk and dependency -- shines hope out on His Goodness and Truth and Beauty. He does have a beautiful plan -- He knew what He was doing when He created male and female and all the delightful intricacies of how the two relate in marriage. It's good.
So, here's two verses I carry in my day planner to remind me about "rehearsal" --
Matthew 6:33 - "Steep your life in God-reality
God-initiative
God-provisions
Don't worry about missing out: You'll find your everyday concerns will be met."

Matthew 6:34 - "Give your entire attention to what God is doing righ tnow and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow..."

I so wish I could say something more profound than "ENJOY!" If I actually knew you and your wife and were there I'd a kiss on the forehead for the both of you, but I imagine Your Father will provide lots of that for you both today and tomorrow. ENJOY!!

bruceatstonybrook said...

David and Phaedra,
Whooohooo! We have looked at your blog previous, knowing you were engaged but not know when the wedding was. We happened across it today and happy news the wedding is tomorrow. What timing!
Congratulation to you both. David it looks like you will have a pony-tail again for the wedding. Phaedra, perhaps someday we will have the pleasure of meeting you.
We are now in NY, LOng Island to be specific and teaching at Stony Brook with the Johnsons.
If you can remember anything after these next few crazy days and weeks, think about dropping us a line, or email. We'd love to hear how you are and where life is taking you.
We will say a blessing on you tomorrow as well as lift a dram in your honor.
blessing,
Amy and Bruce

Jonathan said...

Congrats brother. Yes, savor the rehearsals and the ceremonies, the mundane and the monumental with your love.