Late Saturday it cleared off enough for a tiny excursion, first to Great Meadows in Concord and then over to the Acton Arboretum. I love the Arboretum so much now, and I laugh when I think about the first time the VEB took me there. It was winter and there were puddles of dog pee in the snow, and I was pretty cranky about the whole thing. However, I quickly changed my tune when I saw all the great trees, and we’ve been going back regularly ever since. We made it through the slush and mud of early spring, and then the late spring lilacs were lovely. Now that summer is here it’s very green and lush, and every time we go now there is something else blooming.
Saturday also happened to be my friend Sue’s 17th wedding anniversary. I can’t believe that’s even possible, and yet I remember her wedding SO vividly. For one thing, she was the first of my college friends to marry, and that in itself was pretty momentous. Also, by that point I’d already been engaged and called it off, and I was beginning to suspect that marriage was a lot harder than it looked. The fact that anyone I knew was going to walk down that aisle seemed inconceivable to me.
Sue was beautiful and it was a lovely service, but it was my first Catholic wedding. I sat in the back, alone, completely baffled to everything that was going on around me. I remember having this odd feeling come over me, something between deja-vu and “I’m supposed to be somewhere else”. When it was time for the presentation of the gifts I panicked; I had left my present in the car! I felt pretty silly when I realized “the gifts” were the communion wafers and wine. (Years later I would confess this to Sue, who thankfully saw the humor in it.) What can I say? I was raised Protestant in a family that included a bunch of Episcopals and a Jehovah’s Witness. For years, I would have said that church was Mrs. Kimball, my first grade teacher, playing the organ. What on earth did I know???
Anyway. Thinking about Sue’s wedding, and 17 years of time gone by, and this song stuck in my head, partly because Sue and her husband danced to the original song at their wedding. But also? That line about “the doorway to a thousand churches” has stuck with me for years, and when the SCOTUS ruling came down it was the first thing to pop in my head (after I screamed out loud when I realized I’d forgotten all about the decisions being handed down that day). Even though I am much more versed in the Equal Protection Clause than what the bible has to say, I just immediately got this image in my head of all those church doors being flung open for everyone who gets to be a bride or groom now. Even though it is a legal ruling, addressing legal rights related to federal laws, it will open the doorways of thousands of churches across the country that want to support marriage equality for their parishioners. And while those doors will not be Catholic doors any time soon, I’m glad the tide has turned.