Who knew that being a 'Mother of the Bride' was such a privileged position?! It had been months since my daughter had announced her engagement, and trust me, they were eye opening months for me. Forget the wedding, forget the bride and forget the groom - I had had no idea how special I was!!
Fortunately, there were plenty of books, magazines, friends and even, yes, total strangers who wasted no time in telling me so.
For those who are unfortunately uninformed; the Mother-of-the-Bride picks her dress first - the poor Mother of the Groom gets stuck with what's left. The Mother-of-the-Bride helps determine the 'look' of the wedding, the 'setting' of the wedding, the 'flow' of the wedding, the 'guests' of the wedding, the 'fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-you'd-like' of the wedding. And those were just starters.
In essence, I had acquired more powers than Hitler. Is there any wonder the initials of the 'Mother of the Bride' were often shortened to 'MOB' - as in The 'MOB'? One bad move and you could end up with a horses head on your bed. Just call me the 'God-Mother'.
Now these were not things I made up. At every corner there was some kind soul willing to tell me how special I was and how I better guard those rights so I would not lose them. It all sounded pretty great - that is, if you asked ME.
So how did it turn out that, 3 days before the wedding, I had absolutely no control over anything - and no say in what was about to occur? Surely I had failed at upholding the MOB standard. And needless to say, it was leaving me exceeding distressed. So much so that I actually heard these words come out of my mouth: "BUT I AM THE MOTHER OF THE BRIDE!!! I HAVE RIGHTS TOO!"
Of course in my focus on myself, I was overlooking a few details. One of those details was that my daughter is a wonderful young woman, full of life and faith. Another detail is that she was marrying an equally wonderful young man; and that he comes from an even more wonderful family! And all of these people were perhaps not up to date with MOB protocol because they were, well, working their butts off trying to put together a wonderful wedding - and marriage.
But why dwell on those superficialities when my MOB rules are being violated?
Nonetheless, I absolutely hated the riled up angry feelings that were fighting it out within me. In my mind I knew that the MARRIAGE was the most important thing - NOT the wedding. In fact, that had been my mantra from the start. But now that it was all so close, and so real - well, what about ME? Months of strict MOB advice was shouting out at me - and the dark feelings grew.
I had no idea what to do; so I did the only logical thing - I went to Mass. It was a weekday, and the Mass was in honor of St. Joseph - Guardian of Jesus. I sat my sorry self down when I heard that and suddenly suspected that I was there for a reason. So I prayed desperately for a word of advice from St. Joseph. I reasoned that since he was a father (the one that counseled Jesus, aka GOD!), and that I was in serious need of some fatherly advice - wouldn't he spare a second to send some my way?
(We'll overlook the fact that it seems I am always in need of some advice - but why go there?)
It's not like I have done much of anything lately for St. Joseph, or for anybody else for that matter, but still I continued to pray. And being an amazing Father - he answered.
I sat there silently explaining that no one was giving me the honor I was entitled as the Mother of the Bride, and of course, I was diligently fighting off my well deserved feelings of anger - but I was not having much luck. (Don't you love the way we argue our case even when asking for someone's input into it - or is that just the lawyer in me?). Even so, as I argued my side over and over, the answer quietly and gently came to me:
"My son Jesus was God. What do you think He was entitled to?"
And in that instant, I knew. Immediately my feelings of frustration and self pity gave way to gratitude over being told the truth. Jesus was God - what was He entitled to; and did He insist on it?
Was Jesus, who had no sin - entitled to death on a Cross? Was God entitled to be mocked by sinful men and women? Is He still entitled to it today, as our culture, and the world he came to save, mock Him over and over again?
I, a sinful, selfish person stood there shouting about my 'rights' to the hilltops; while Jesus - Who Is GOD - was born in a dirty stable, lived a life of poverty, was mocked by men, tortured and put to death. I don't recall hearing His complaints anywhere in Scripture. Never once did He demand His rights.
And He saved us all by doing so.
My MOB violations suddenly seemed pretty darn small in comparison. And I stood in awe of the Communion of Saints who, once again, rescued me when I called out for help - even when I didn't deserve it…
I'd like to say that this cured me of selfishness, and I will never again be found whining - but then again - this is me we're talking about.
So instead I'll say ---- Thank God there's a pretty large Communion of Saints...
Ashley and Susan
Two women asking the world to not just hope, but to hope in Love.