This wasn't the "Returning home after being JUST MARRIED" as I imagined it to be when I was a little girl. All my life I'd seen the back windows painted in capital letters JUST MARRIED, cans tied with string pulling behind. This wasn't that kind of journey home. Instead it was "you've got my pillow," "move over," "how long till we stop?"
And in so many ways, it was just right.
It's funny to even think about what Linda and I just got through doing...we got married. It's just that for so long we never thought getting married would be something we would do. She and I have been together almost half of my life - literally half of hers. It's just for all of those years, it didn't seem like it would happen for us. Commitment service. Yes- we did that in 1991. But with a public, acknowledged, honored, legal ceremony - we didn't think it would happen.
But/and it did and we are – .JUST MARRIED
Our service was wonderful. Three generations gathered around, celebrating. We asked a Presbyterian minister to officiate, and there was a great bonus – the lady could sing. We used the same scripture we had chosen in 1991, and in so many ways those words still felt true and right – Romans 12. Sisters, Claudia and Bets held the circle together bridging this ceremony to the one in 1991. We were deeply missing folks who couldn't be with us physically, but we felt them very close.
Both boys participated in the service. Sam carried our rings and John Brogan sang. When were passing around our rings, for everyone to bless, John Brogan sang a Harry Chapin song: (one of the verses)
"I've found you a thousand times, I guess you've done the same. And then we lose each other, it's just like a children's game. And as I find you here again, a thought runs through my mind - our love is like a circle, let's go around one more time."
When Linda said her vows, I started laughing because the words I heard her saying to me, I had planned to say much of the same to her. I guess we know when another very well.
Somebody asked me how this wedding night compared to the one of our commitment service. Here's the truth-in 1991 our friend, Jan's cousin had known a guy, who knew somebody who had gotten us a room the top of the Marriott here in Atlanta, and there on the bed were roses and chocolates. The night Linda and I were married we were deciding whether to take the kids to see the movie The Terminator or play the game Head's Up. (We all played Heads Up.) JUST MARRIED.
It all just feels so weird, so surreal. "JUST MARRIED." With the Supreme Court's decision, I have felt my shoulders relax and my breathing become a bit more steady. All this time there has been an un-named feeling of being less-than or invisible. When other states starting welcoming Gay Marriages, Linda and I chose not to go. We live here in Georgia and we both knew that although it would be great to get married somewhere else, we would not be able to claim it here at home. June 26, 2015 changed all that for us and for so many.
And so after a wonderful week up in Illinois, we came home to the farm, played with our dog, and started a load or two or three of laundry. We yelled at the boys to not stay up too late, brushed our teeth, and crawled into bed. And for the first time in all our years together we crawled into our own bed – just married.
(Thanks Claud, for this first batch of pictures)
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.