Why marry?

I’m still supposed to be working on my wedding assignment, but can’t stop thinking about the weekend’s Sacred Activism workshop. It’s pretty hard to focus on a pretend wedding when a very real world is on fire and my heart is yearning to fly into sacred service. Not to mention the fact that it’s pretty hard to concentrate on a project for which I feel no passion – I don’t really believe in marriage as we know it. I’m not sure the ideal of spending the rest of your life with one other person is very realistic. However, I have been learning more and more the power of relationship, between people, between the elements, even between two opposing ideas.

This weekend, Andrew Harvey asked our class to meditate on Jesus’s teaching that we be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Recently, I had been deeply inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon on this very Bible verse. King urges us to be tough-minded and tender-hearted, to see the benefit of both science and religion, to see the world in all of it harshness as well as beauty. Through this weekend with Andrew Harvey, I began to relate this to my seemingly opposing feelings of both fear and hope. Fear is having the shrewdness of the serpent or the realistic viewpoint of a scientist. Cultivating and expanding an awareness of the atrocities happening in our world today can be terrifying but is, in fact, necessary to provide any solutions. However, where would this wisdom be without hope? Hope is having a tender heart and a belief that things can get better, even if sometimes that does not seem quite logical. If we don’t allow ourselves to have at least a bit of innocent hopefulness, we won’t have the motivation to move into action. The challenge is not to choose hope or fear, but to hold both at the same time.

In fact, I have begun to discover that fear and hope may arise from the same source. Both indicate a sense of something could be different here. Fear can decay into a rigid desire to control. Fear can paralyze. Hope can dissolve into a place of having no choice but to lazily wish for better.

In this way, marriage is about creation. Andrew Harvey talks about the the Sacred Marriage. It is absolutely necessary to have both the sacred feminine and sacred masculine, the wisdom and the innocence, the strength and the gentleness for a balanced and united world. This Marriage is also the marriage of being and doing, of spiritual practice and spiritual action. To me, it’s like having a song stuck in your head – the song of the Divine Name, perhaps – that I can’t help but hum. What is Love if it isn’t expressed? The relationship between all of these dichotomies is the love between all of them.

It seems as though humans can have a hard time holding two opposing thoughts simultaneously. This or that, black or white, yes or no. Why can’t it be both and? You would think that, as humans, with all of our complexities and layers upon layers of ponderings and yearnings and weirdness and wonderfulness, we would understand this a bit more easily. I challenge you (and myself) to try.


One thought on “Why marry?

  1. Debbie says:

    This past weekend is still with me. I have many thoughts running through my mind and constantly reflect on what Andrew had to say.
    Driving home tonight I was listening to the radio and applied his reflections to what the radio announcer was saying.
    I have a very strong feeling that something, some event, some opportunity, will cross my path and I will instantly recognize that I should follow.


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