wedding dresses and thoughts from the not so puritanical

Posted: June 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

I’m home, and surprisingly very much at home, in my new abode of some 2 weeks where I live with friends.  I love it that coming back here is already “coming home” to me – sometimes, when I’m moving around, I feel sort of adrift and like a lady with no home, until I get used to my new digs. 

I’ve just returned from a weekend in Ames, Iowa at my son’s house.  I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with him and, separately, with his girlfriend.  Enjoyed hanging out at his house, which started to feel like home to me approximately 5 minutes into my first tour of it, a year-ish ago.  The boy is nicely settled into a life that really makes sense for him, and it makes my heart glad, seeing his surroundings, meeting his friends and coworkers, and hearing the joy and passion in him about so many parts of his life. 

The reason for the timing of this particular visit, though, was related to my wedding dress, which, while I will wear it for my wedding, will not be a wedding dress at all.  I had decided pretty much immediately that I wasn’t interested in going with traditional white.  White is really not a great color on me – my Swedish/German background makes me rather sort of awkwardly pinkish white in skin tone to pull off all-white very well.  Also, I just generally like to do things differently and in unexpected ways (you’re shocked, right?!) and a non-wedding wedding dress appealed to that sensibility. 

I know that some feel a white wedding dress isn’t appropriate for second weddings because the bride is clearly no longer a virgin at that point.  That is really not a factor for me.  I’m definitely closer to “deserving” of white (if there were any such thing as “deserving”…I just wrote and deleted a lot of words on THAT tangent…) now than I was then….then, I was 18 years old and pregnant, having gotten so in a way that was not consciously deliberate, but looking back, must surely have been subconsciously so. 

But I approach this wedding with nearly 15 years of celibacy in hand, and, more than that, with a heart and mind fully bent on not “going there”…even mentally…before the time is right.  I have a super cool quote on my mirror from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that says, “The essence of chastity is not the suppression of lust, but the total orientation of one’s life towards a goal.”  That quote SHOUTED to me the first time I read it, and I have returned to it again and again.  It’s one thing to live out chastity if you’re just a puritanical person, repelled by the sensual – if you’ve just let your religiosity or whatever make you hate sex –  but for those of us who actually LIKE touch…let’s just say it’s a journey that needs Holy Spirit superpower to boost one over the finish line.  He is good, when I am small and weak and unlikely to finish well. 

So my non-white, non-wedding dress is not about making some outward profession that I am all used up or undeserving or anything like that.  It is about choosing something that will feel beautiful – as a friend says, will make me feel like a princess.  Another friend with mad sewing skillz is making possible a dress I absolutely could never otherwise afford at all, and when we were in the fabric store Saturday night buying stuff for it, I was so overcome with joy that I just could not stop giggling and grinning. 

What’s it look like?  Oh, wouldn’t you like to know!  Guess you’ll have to either come to the wedding, or wait for the pictures afterward. 

Meanwhile, I need to ask my fiance’s best man to be ready to catch him when he sees me. 

Just sayin’. 

  1. Cala says:

    Yes!!!!!! (to that last line of course..) !

  2. Sherri says:

    Love this!!!! I can’t wait to see pictures. I am sure you will look stunning and they will probably be needing to pick Gary up off the floor! So excited for you!

  3. Me says:

    So thrilled for you. And very much looking forward to seeing beautiful pictures

    Sent from my Motorola Smartphone on the Now Network from Sprint!

  4. Hi Karen! Another great post 🙂 thx

    Congratulations again on your upcoming wedding! I recently heard about and started reading a book called, ‘The Marriage Manifesto’, and think you’ll resonate with it (being a reader of Vanier and Nouwen and all…). It’s different than they are but reminds me of them – it’s about, “liv(ing) out our relationships in a way that transforms the world around us, making marriage a vehicle for revolution”. It’s a free ebook when you subscribe to the author’s (Dr. Kelly Flanagan) blog:

    I hope you don’t mind my suggesting it, just thought you would appreciate what he has to say. As I said, I just started reading it, but felt I read enough to be willing to recommend it…


    • karen says:

      That is a REALLY GREAT BOOK, Hannah! Thank you so much for recommending! I have read the whole thing (quickly) and plan to read again more slowly, and certainly will be sharing it. Just a great, great resource!

      The blog is great too!

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