April 29, 2018

Our granddaughter Elizabeth married Jeremy Van Patton last Thursday. The wedding was at noon in the Bountiful Temple. The wedding luncheon was at two p.m. The reception began at 6:30 and ended between 8:30 and 9 p.m.  All done up properly and joyously: the wedding pictures taken, the cake cut and politely eaten, the bouquet thrown and snagged by an athletic bridesmaid, the car decorated.

The celebration resembled most any wedding day in our society. The two were delightfully in love, and everyone was happy for them. It reminds me of an old saying about the bride’s telling her mother, “This is the end of all my troubles.” The mother’s answer was, “Yes, dear. You just don’t know which end.”

These two have no idea what lies ahead, but we suppose that when the trials come, they will help each other through them, support each other, and not grow apart. It will be a learning experience. It will be happy and sad. That’s the point of starting a new family with high expectations and hopes. They have pledged to partner one another and to be faithful.

But even with such an auspicious beginning, marriage can fail, usually because of selfishness and becoming distracted from that most important relationship. I am aware that our own marriage in which we are in our 55th year had several points of dissension that could have ended in divorce. But, as these newly-weds have done, we had made promises and did what was necessary to keep on being married.

It has been a lot of fun, a difficult education, hard work, great pleasure, and terrible grief as we have raised four children. But I was reading my journal for over thirty years back and find that the same personal problems I had then I still have: How I struggled to write and serve my family and my society too. How inadequate I judged myself as a wife and mother. How I struggled with my weight and with my desire to read more than I thought appropriate. How ambitious I was for my children, insisting on music lessons, swimming lessons, and that they help in the garden to learn to work.

Ideals have both guided my life and caused disappointment because I have hardly ever met my own requirements for myself. Yet I began as those newly-weds do with no idea of what life would bring. My journals rejoice in the accomplishment of a whole long list of to-dos and in the next sentence reflect disappointment in neglecting something else. Yet abounding joy and happiness are also contained in that record. Simply meeting with the family around the dinner table sometimes gave me intense feelings of satisfaction.

I know that couple will face a variety of challenges just as we did. Proceeding and risking in hope, enduring, choosing with faith that it will turn out: all those events are ahead of Elizabeth and Jeremy.

I would never want to live it all over again even though I might make better decisions and worry less. But how could I wish for more for them than to end up many years later with deep accord, an infinite variety of memories, and the affection that comes from going through everything together? That feeling that when we were first married we called love now means deeply and vastly more. PMA


Published by seedofgalaxies

I see complexities in everything and believe through experience that there is indeed "opposition in all things," or, in other words, yin and yang, that little symbol of white and black with an eye of each in the substance of the other represents life as I know it. So I write weekly essays about what I find. As a writer, I have published articles, poetry, and hymn texts. I have a couple of historical novels in the works. I wrote the texts to two hymns in the LDS Hymnbook, "Let the Holy Sprit Guide" and "With Songs of Praise." I'm an enthusiastic member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As the wife of Gary L Allen, we have four children, three of whom have many children. A gardener, Cub Scout Den Leader, and conscientious exerciser, as body and resources allowed, I've walked, moved to group exercise to music, tap danced for a while, then loved yoga for about 25 years. I have been an English teacher at BYU. Gary and I spent a year (2004-5) in China teaching English at a Qingdao University. Later we spent 18 months in the Seattle area on a CES and proselyting mission. To retain my claim to be a writer, I write a weekly essay almost every Sunday. A companion publication with this blog is "Penny's Shards," a large number of very short short stories.

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