News And Views
My Catholic Marriage
Holding On to Our Senses
“She appears to have taken leave of her senses.”
The above phrase would typically be taken to mean that “she,” whoever she might be, has gone crazy or is displaying irrational behavior in some way or another. However, it could also take on a rather different meaning. It seems to be a common expectation that when a woman gets married she seems to “take leave of” her own five senses for an entire day, or at least significant portions of it.
Left and right Daniel and I keep hearing things like, “You’d better enjoy that cake now, because you won’t taste it on your wedding day;” or “Pay close attention to the music this time around—you won’t hear it that morning.” I guess that is why so many newlyweds (and I only say “so many” because it is what I keep hearing) say that they hardly remember large parts of their wedding day, or that it is “all a blur.”
Truly, though, this is one day of my life about which I want to remember everything—every beautiful, special detail. I want to get goose bumps when I hear the organ begin to play Henry Purcell’s “Trumpet Tune” as the procession begins. I want to clearly see my family and friends’ smiling faces in the pews as I walk up the aisle. I want to smell that beautiful scent of incense that means something holy is happening, and the fragrance of the flowers beside the altar. I want to feel the warmth of Daniel’s fingers interlaced with mine, which I suspect will be freezing as a result of nerves. I want to taste the wine that will have become the Blood of Christ. And when we get to the reception, I want to taste the cake, too! I love cake!
It is sensory data and emotions that are the building blocks of memory, and obviously emotions are very much affected by the information our brains receive through our five senses. We all know, for example, that a movie that is meant to be emotional is usually nothing without a powerful score. I want to fully experience everything that happens on May 16, and I want to remember it all down the road—the next day, next year, and fifty years from now in case our grandchildren ever happen to ask us about our wedding day. This means that I want my God-given senses to be fully present.
If I am going to be “floating on a cloud” all day like people keep telling me, let it be because of how incredibly happy I am, not because a thick fog is surrounding me and dulling my senses. That is my prayer. Even if that means that I am forced to feel the weight of the nervousness surrounding such a huge day in my life rather than look at it from a distance. I think it will be worth it.