Saturday, October 13, 2012

the bonds of holy matrimony

In the movies -- and no doubt in churches as well -- marriages are sometimes accompanied by the words, "the bonds of holy matrimony." The phrase seems to solemnify the occasion, asserting a serious reminder within serious, yet happy, circumstances.

But without seeking to pop anyone's balloon or playing the curmudgeon, I wonder about the insertion of "holiness" in human matters. It feels a bit like the teenager who is positively dying to join some high school clique, to be included, not to be left out ... ingratiating, petitioning, fawning ... "holy" wants to join because in joining the family of man, its own existence is verified and assured and important. Without the company of others, "holy" might lose its sense of self and purpose ... and spend Saturday nights alone. "Pick me! Pick me! Oh please, pick me!"

Matrimony is not the only realm in which "holy" might seek a toe hold, but it crossed my mind this morning.

Two people decide to make a commitment to each other, to hold hands and walk into the future in some not-entirely-well-defined unison. Talk about a risky and uncertain undertaking! Of course "love" papers over many uncertainties, but still... does anyone really need "holy" to blur the vision further? Matrimony, whatever it may mean, is a serious business for those getting married. Is more seriousness required? And if so, to what extent does "holy" honestly provide that seriousness?

Yes, yes ... promises are always dicey because no one can see into the future and there is an implicit awareness that to the extent that promises are kept, they can equally easily be broken. And is stepping over a broomstick any less a hopeful adjunct to matrimony than "holy?"

So there is hope and courage and happiness and a search for implements that will bolster the scene.

But "holy?"

Can "holy" improve what is perfect? And if it can, what does that say about the appreciation of what is perfect?

As I say, I am not trying to overturn anyone's well-stocked apple cart. "Holy" is as good or bad a hope as any. But what happens to any circumstance or setting when "holy" is set aside? Isn't that the only way the circumstance or setting stands a snowball's chance in hell of actually being holy ... whatever that means?

Poor old "holy" ... so lonely without a host on which to attach itself. Like "zero," "holy" has no meaning without a number it can append itself to. And yet, if relying on others is the best anyone or anything can do, how peaceful could that possibly be?



OK ... knock yourself out.

But where the insistence and energy runs thin, take a look.

Holy mackerel!

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