Sunday, September 24, 2006

Jesus! (and godless heathens)

My cousin married a youth minister this Saturday, outside in the San Diego sun, with water and city in the background. According to another cousin's husband (also a youth minister - this is actually my third cousin to marry a youth minister) who performed the ceremony, God was also at the wedding. As one would expect He would be at any such religious wedding.

We were told to arrive an hour ahead of time for "cousin pictures" and, of course, ended up standing around for the entire hour waiting for one picture. I found it funny that all of us were wearing variations of the same style of dress, halter neck with fitted waist and forgiving skirts, though they were in all colors and fabrics. The genetics breed true, and we all benefit from similar styles - the only cousins who got boobs were the bride and a bridesmaid, and we all have the hourglass shape with substantial muscles. And booty.

The ceremony was blessedly short (much shorter than that of the cousin whose husband performed the ceremony - at their Jesus wedding, literally in an enormous church that had giant gold letters above the alter that said JESUS!, they had a full church service), and the processional was a harpist and Matisyahu for the groomsmen and back to the harpist, and the bride and groom took communion together, after which a seagull came and stole the remains of the bread. The bridesmaids looked beautiful in periwinkle and black, and the cousin who got married in the JESUS church was matron of honor, looking like she had a basketball shoved under her dress. Other than that, you couldn't tell she was pregnant. And she liked the blanket, so that's good.

I had one issue with the ceremony - well, I actually had several, but knowing my relatives I knew what to expect. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think mention of divorce is appropriate in a wedding ceremony, even if it's to say "Divorce is not an option"- especially when my in-the-middle-of-a-bad-divorce father is sitting awkwardly a few seats away.

The bride and groom had written their own vows, the groom pledging to guide the bride in their married lives, and the bride vowing to obey her husband and let him guide her. At least they didn't try to do any converting of the congregation during the ceremony.

* * * * * * * * *

My 14 y/o cousin still eats nothing but white processed carbs (at the reception, she ate a tortilla and some croutons). She was seated at the table with us heathen cousins - my sister and her boyfriend, the two cousins from the other godless branch and their boyfriends, and me. I was kind of bummed that the Hulk wasn't there just because everyone else was with significant others. My favorite (godless) cousin is dating a guy from Berkeley who, personality-wise, is so much like the Hulk it's scary. He's even a comic book nerd. He and Favorite Godless took a trip to Central America last year and were giving me suggestions for good places to go in Costa Rica. I hope that next time we're in the Bay Area, probably for Tday, we'll be able to spend some time with them. Godless Cousin rules.

So many of the customs of that circle that I find tacky were associated with this wedding - the registry information was included in the invitations, there was an enormous gift table, and both bride and groom participated in the money dance. Because it was tradition from when the first cousin married a youth minister, the heathen cousins all donated our small bills to the bride's bag and we swayed as a group. She beamed, embraced by her female family, looking radiant as only a bride can look. And healthy. She looked so happy and healthy, having recovered from a major operation that completely changed the shape of her face a few years ago. She was always beautiful, but yesterday, she was stunning - and free of the pain she'd had for so many years before the surgery. I could tell that yesterday was truly the best day of her life, and she was at peace with what life would bring. She trusted God and her new husband to take care of her, to make sure that her life would be a happy one. It's a lot harder for us godless heathens to have the same peace of mind

The music played at the reception was an interesting mix of easy listening and Jesus rock. Much of it was, at the same time, both incredibly cheesy and incredibly meaningful to this group of people who truly believed in the sentiment of the music.

My sister wasn't feeling well, and so we skipped the after-party at the hotel where the heathens stayed. She and Drat dropped me off with Oldest Friend, whose car is now mostly dead, and I spent the afternoon nursing a headache while she cleaned and organized to prepare her space for working from home. She officially starts her new job tomorrow.

We went out for drinks and appetizers, flirting with the cute bartender, and then joined the heathen branch and boyfriends for dinner. My mahi mahi was delicious. It was so nice to be in the company of people who were both related to me and like-minded, where I could drink and possibly swear and talk negatively about Shrub without offending anyone. My aunt and uncle are really very cool - I know they are the ones closest to my dad but also the ones who liked my mom best - so it has to be hard for them and their kids, to know only what my dad tells them about the situation. I offered to tell Favorite Godless the whole story sometime if she really wanted to know, but we can't do anything to antagonize my dad and make things worse for my mom while the divorce is still pending.

It was a long, exhausting, and family-filled day. This afternoon, Monkey's coming down to take me away to the land of the plastic people, and we'll spend the evening enjoying the concert, and keep each other awake on the drive back to San Diego.

No comments: