On the way to the (real) Wedding


 From a spiritual point of view therefore marriage is a step forward on the path to perfection, that path by which the ultimate purpose of life is attained. Hazrat Inayat Khan  

My oldest daughter got married yesterday, and it was my privilege, as an ordained Cheraga in the Sufi Order International, to perform the marriage. I had some reservations about this initially–so did she, as the bride–but in the end it was very sweet and somehow brought our often difficult relationship to a place of…completeness? I don’t know, that doesn’t make sense, because both of us plan to be around for quite awhile, and I have a grandchild on the way; but perhaps it signified that our difficult times were at an end. I’d like to think so, anyway. Theoretically, it was not going to be a “religious” wedding (the groom would have preferred a civil ceremony, I believe), and so I tried to be sensitive to his professed atheism, as well as my complete lack of knowledge about the religious beliefs of the groom’s family; but as always happens, I had a feeling all day that the masters, saints and prophets who form the spiritual body that governs the universe–in my understanding!–were gathering, with an emphasis on my immediate teachers, to put the seal on this joining, which is so obviously right for these lovely young people. And despite the groom’s being an “atheist,” and despite the bride’s impression that she felt like a fool and acted like one during the whole thing, it was a powerful and holy occasion filled with sacredness and laughter, and I felt, as always, that gratitude I feel for my link with all this, however weak a link I am. When I am “used” in this way, I am powerfully visited by my nostalgia for the way things really are, and I remember–once again–that we are barely sticking our toes in the waters of reality on this plane…and I look forward to going home again.

2 thoughts on “On the way to the (real) Wedding

  1. Hey, you asked for comments! Well Congratulations! And I have some questions. I’m curious to know how you did the ceremony, and any feelings you might have had in including the “atheist” in the whole thing. Did you do any readings, light any candles, say any prayers? How did you establish the atmosphere, to connect?

  2. Yeah, I’m a real technological wizard, huh…..

    Well, I didn’t do what for us Sufis passes as an “orthodox” one, that’s for sure. But then I remembered all the informal weddings Pir Vilayat had done, including my own. I tried to be sensitive about the wording, I guess…. I don’t really mind atheists, perhaps because I’ve never really met one. I’ve met lots of people who say they are, but if you scratch the surface, you usually find they’re not atheists, they’re just pissed off at God. Well, aren’t we all, at times? What is God, anyway? The atheists I’ve met fall into two categories: (1) people who have suffered some major loss and can’t make sense of it, which was true of this kid; his girlfriend had been killed in a car wreck two years before… and (2) people who are revolted by religious dogma and the political machinations of the church(s). I don’t see any need to “convert” them, but I’m always interested in opening a dialogue in a language they don’t find offensive.

    As to this wedding, well…the masters, saints and prophets were all there, it was all very high, even if most of the people there didn’t “get it”……I did, my husband did, the bride did, and surprisingly, her new father-in-law couldn’t really say what it was that moved him, but gave evidence of being moved. As to the rest, why worry? I believe they partook of the blessing to the extent that they were able. It worked. As to establishing “the” atmosphere….I kind of just try to be a conduit for whatever God intends in the moment, and thus don’t feel too responsible. But I’m sure you know when it’s right, just as I do.

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