Funny things happen when you get engaged. First, everyone comes out of the woodwork with advice, which I actually really appreciate. Second, you start evaluating all these aspects of your life that you did not intend to. For me, it was my religion.
When we started planning for the wedding, some things in my mind were automatic. It would be in California and the ceremony would be in a Catholic Church. Once we found a reception venue, I thought the hard part was over because I knew exactly which church I wanted and that the priest there was available the weekend we wanted.
I also knew that I would have to find a priest in DC to do our marriage prep because we couldn't meet with our officient regularly long-distance; however, I never imagined all the twists and turns that little task would entail. The church that I regularly attended during law school had no record of me being a parishoner. Another priest agreed to do the counseling, but then we found his blog and discovered that the issues that he is most passionate about are the ones that we disagree with. Another priest who my friend highly recommended was moving away. Another had never done counseling before. Another preferred that people do counseling with the parish they belong to. Another required us to go on a long and expensive weekend retreat, and was also awkward on the phone. The list goes on. I think by the end of two weeks, I had communicated with seven priests or deacons.
Needless to say that I was getting frustrated. However, that frustration made me evaluate why I wanted to get married in the church, which is actually a good question. Alex is not Catholic, but said he would do it if it was important to me. Upon reflection, I did realize that getting married in the church was not just important to my family, but for me as well.
Over the years religion and the Catholic Church have served different positive roles in my life. It has helped instill a sense of social justice in my growing up. During high school and college, it provided a community. In law school, going to church had a calming presence during stressful times. And now that I am working in a field that is often depressing, religion has given me perspective and hope in people. It, along with other things, inspires me to be a better person and serve others. Although I do not agree with many current Catholic views, overall, I believe that the church and my religion have been a beneficial part of me.
I guess I can say this now that I have seemed to find a happy ending. We ultimately ended up finding a priest to do our marriage preparation at a church that Alex and I both like. He came recommended from friends who had him for their counseling and raved about him. While we have not met him, from what I heard, he seems like the perfect fit for Alex and me. I heard he provides great counseling through a religious perspective and is not judgmental. He even signed the DC Clergy petition for marriage equality and was friends with Ted Kennedy.
These are the little things that you never think about when you think about your wedding. I can only imagine what the next 1 year + 1 month will be like.