Tuesday, April 3, 2012

M is for Marriage

Hi friends, and thanks for your comments on the first of my faintly mysterious acrostic stories (posted yesterday, below the Thrill of What You Already Have picture for April). As I said yesterday, something Ang commented has set me off on this little story of my life, based around a key phrase - I'm sure you'll guess it before much longer!Our first installment got me as far as university, where I was completing my much dreamed-of studies in archaeology. As you'll see, this one will get us as far as my marriage, but we'll go there by a winding route!One of the things I loved most about university was actually getting to know and trust new people. I mentioned yesterday that I had a strong identification with my family, and not too many other people (although had, and still have, a few good friends from my school days). But leaving home is a great way to meet different people and try new things and discover that your way is not the only way.
I had a great friend who loved to come Charity Shopping with me, but she was button-phobic (yes, I know she's not the only one)! We made a funny pair, with her sitting outside a shop, shuddering, while I knelt on the floor inside, searching through a button tin for the mother of pearl buttons I still have. She was, at that time, a biker girl with a leather jacket and big perm, and I was a floaty, wafty, lacey blonde. Actually, I can see she's come further than I have since those days..!
I think it's my nature to need to discover things for myself - I don't like to be told. When I met Ben at university (oops, goodbye, previous boyfriend) it was interesting to me that he had recently become a Christian. His faith seemed, like the rest of him, extremely down-to-earth, and not much of the self-indulgent delusion that I'd suspected that other people could be suffering from. It matched my own practical approach, but there was something more. I read a lot about the idea of 'a leap of faith', and realised there was something in that phrase - I imagined myself standing at the edge of a precipice with God on the other side of it, and tried to push myself to jump.
My mind just wouldn't do that! I suspect it's impossible. Instead, I came to one of those tearful evenings that you have when you're in love and something's just gone wrong that seems beyond bearing, and I just poured my heart out to God, including the bit about not feeling what I was 'meant' to be feeling about God. Well, God is so patient and loving with silly teenaged girls! Anyone, including my own mother, would have told me to buck up and sort myself out, but God is more gentle than a parent, and gave me all sorts of ideas, images, things to read, things to see, people to talk to in the next few days. Lo and behold, he was leading me to him, where I couldn't make the 'jump' myself! I got to the point where I realised that Jesus comes to me - he died for this - and it's not about me pushing my way to him, but about me being ready to accept him, just where I am.
Well, the tearful moments passed (although more were to come - hey, this is a romance!) and Ben and I got into going to his Anglican church in Reading city centre. It was fun, and sociable, and the hymns (which I'd always loved in my Methodist church at home) finally made sense - what happended to the hymn writers was happening to me!
I was nineteen and a half when we got engaged. We wondered vaguely about getting married while we were still at university (my mother disapproved of this idea) and finally settled on a date a few weeks after our graduation, in July 1990. It was a fun business, planning our wedding, although we both suspect that it's even more fun planning one when you're paying for it (and therefore in total control!) We chose some really fantastic hymns, including And Can It Be? which our minister said he'd never heard at a wedding before. But to us it summed things up. Wow - looking back on it, we were young. Ben's cousin (at 23, a year older than him), commented, "Oh, they're so young!" and their granny replied, "Well, you're no Methuselah yourself, dear..." But looking back, we see her point. I'm teaching students older than 21 now, and few of them seem exactly grown up. It must have been hard for our parents to believe we were really old enough to have made this decision. But almost 22 years later, it doesn't seem to have been a mistake!


Vintage Jane said...

What a lovely open post. You could write a book. M x

Jane and Chris said...

Lovely post, Floss.
Jane x

Serenata said...

Wonderful post Floss. Amazing! ;-)

polkadotpeticoat said...

I loved your story.....I can see too now like you a parents perspective....what a lovely post!

Unknown said...

Lovely post!

JuanitaTortilla said...

Oh, tell me more :)

That's true -- I would have certainly thought the sane thoughts that you guys were too young. But I didn't get married much older than you were either! :D

Angela said...

Fabulous post.

I have already worked out the acrostic [not that you are surprised by that]

And WE had "And Can It Be" at our wedding in 1979 [aged 23 and 24]

looking forward with interest to the 4th post in the series!

blessings x

Anonymous said...

Very much enjoying this series Floss.

I'm so relieved that God is patient with teenage girls (and, subsequently with youth leaders of teenage girls)!

I got married at 19, after my first year of university. Looking back now we were incredibly young, but since then we have chosen to grow together which has been an amazing journey.