Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Number 4: Unnecessary


Pretty much everything in the world is unnecessary. I'm tempted to say everything in this world is unnecessary, but I'll wait to the end to say that.

For starters, pork loin in a tomatillo & chipotle sauce is unnecessary. So are pine cones. Golf is unnecessary. Golf really is unnecessary. The accordian is unnecessary. Churches sitting on the edge of a hill overlooking a bay of water are unnecessary. Panes of glass reaching 20 feet into the air. Black and white photography. An Armani suit. An Ethiopian gold cross. Medieval chanting in Latin. All unnecessary.

You know what else is unnecessary? The 1662 Book of Common Prayer. It's nice, but not necessary. Not really. Seriously. We appreciate it. It helps us, but ultimately unnecessary. And priests? They're not necessary either--not to formalize a marriage vow. That only happened post Council of Trent.

The Celtic goose and the paisley design and a 10 Year-Old Tawny port are unnecessary. John Keble's poetry is unnecessary and he lived from 1792-1866, so he should know. China is definitely unnecessary--both kinds.

The cha-cha-cha is ridiculous. Nobody needs cha-cha-cha. Nobody would ever die if cha-cha-cha never existed. And I hate to say this, ladies, but chocolote is thoroughly unnecessary. Not milk, not white, not dark, not bitter, not any frufy kind of it, none of it. Deal with it.

All the flowers in this world are categorically unnecessary. They don't need us, we don't need them. I wish them gone.

Small talk is out. Trucks should never have been invented in the first place. And calligraphy is for people who can't handle the straight truth.

Glitter is for sissies.

And every single thing I've mentioned here is a part of our wedding. None of it is necessary, not a lick of it.

You may think I'm exaggerating but I'm not. I'm dead serious. You know the only thing we need to be wedded? It's this: I stand in front of Phaedra, she in front of me, and we say, "Do you want to get married? Yes." And we're married. That's it. Two people witness it and we're through. Worked for the first family east of Eden, works for us.

We don't need colors, we don't need fancy sounds, we don't need tasty foods, we don't need special movement, we don't need flowers that smell good. We don't need art. We don't.

And we don't need frolicking underwear.

That was bonus.

But let me put things more theologically sharply: This world is completely and utterly unnecessary. It does not need to exist. It never needed to exist. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost could live just fine and rather fully contentedly without it. You are unnecessary. I am unnecessary. And that's just fine. We really need to embrace this in our hearts. You and I are fundamentally unnecessary.

Look around you, wherever you're reading this. Everything around is unnecessary. Air to breathe? Food to sustain us? Shelter to protect? Clothing to cover? Safety from the elements? The "elements." Ha. You think that's what we need? And everything else is bonus? No, we don't need air, food, shelter, clothing, safety or any other of these so-called necessities. No, we get to have them. We get to exist. Get. There is no right to exist. There is only grace.

Everything is grace.

St. Therese of Lisieux might have made that phrase famous but she didn't originate it. People have been trying to get that into our heads since Eve long ago proclaimed, "With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man" (Genesis 4:1). Everything in this world is grace. Everything around you is grace. Everything in my wedding is grace.

We get to have color and sound and taste and smell and touch and laughter and dance and ceremony and ritual and sacramental words and church bells pealing into the air and amazing, beautiful, self-sacrificing friends and my beloved family and gold rings that are carved with leafy vines and the image of the Celtic goose who symbolizes the Holy Spirit and Who hovers over all our proceedings and inspires our imaginations with seemingly infinite number of things to make, experiences to dive into, new words to launch into the human vocabulary and ways to express our love to God through human creativity that in no way whatsoever could ever catch up to the Divine creativity which already spreads and spawns across the globe and out into incromprehensible expanses and activities of the universe with alarming joy.

Everything is grace.

And I for one am glad for every single bit of it. For example: I do not take my chocolate lying down. I take it dark, mean, bitter and with a JuJitsu hammer to the senses that makes you feel dizzy and wonder how something so screamingly, ridiculously good could exist--and you go "Wow!" and "Ow!" and "Dang it!" and "My brains are going to ex-pa-lode!"--and it dawns on you that you get to experience it.

And that's the kind of chocolate Phaedra and I are pulling into our wedding: Dark Chocolate Espresso Supreme. And Lemon with Butter Cream Icing. And Italian Cream. And Blue Ribbon Carrot. And Mocha Chocolate Divine the Gluten-Free Version. All in our wedding. All stinking grace.

And I'm fired up.

5 comments:

jamie said...

mmm...chocolate. That certainly is graceful.

ceciliabrie said...

"we get to carry each other" -- U2

mrs metaphor said...

I found your blog today through my new friend, Ahna's (ahnalog). I am most thankful for having read your words and your thoughts...beautiful and life giving. Thank you.

Howard said...

Absolutely on the button!
It's all about God expressing His grace - otherwise, nothing matters or makes sense.

The fact that such a thought is at the crux of what you do and what is motivating what you do makes all that is awaiting the day of release brighten with the richness that makes everything significant.

messenjah101 said...

I like chocolate, & I'm a dude. But I get the point.