When a Parent Loves God More Than Their Child

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,”
but rather, “I am in the heart of God.

Rumi

For their intimate, micro wedding celebration, Caroline and Josh (names changed) rented an Air BnB in Topanga Canyon, an old and beloved slice of Southern California.

When I wandered into the rambling house, I found Caroline’s parents praying the rosary.

Caroline & Josh told me that they were “spiritual but not religious.” Caroline’s parents were devout, theologically conservative Roman Catholic and Josh’s family was Jehovah.

Caroline’s parents objected to her marrying Josh – to marrying outside “the faith.” And so, Caroline and Josh waited – hoped – that eventually her parents would relent. They didn’t – but they agreed to attend the wedding.

Caroline’s dad walked her down the aisle and when they stopped at the first row, he made the sign of the cross on her forehead. I had never seen a father do that before in a wedding ceremony. I thought the gesture was both tender and intrusive.

Given all of the religious issues swirling about the ceremony, I had concerns as to how to thread that religious needle, as it were.


Just prior to the ceremony, I again shared my concerns with Josh. Did he want me to introduce the exchange of vows using the phrase, “in the presence of God”?

Josh and I sat on the stairs and talked. I was moved as this young man (20’s) struggled to do right, sharing, “I don’t think they believe our vows are in the presence of God, so why say it when they’ll be upset at our notion of God.”

Wow! Oh, how we complicate our lives all in the name of “God.”

During the ceremony, Caroline and Josh looked euphoric. Her parents looked pained. Josh’s Grandma was teary-eyed. His Mom was happy. His Sisters were proud.

And where was God in all this?

If “God is love” then I / we are compelled to believe that “God” was present in the swirl of love and emotion.

I was moved by Caroline’s and Josh’s wedding celebration. By their fragility and courage and longing and love.

Life in all its messy glory. . .
That is what a wedding ultimately celebrates


Are you thinking of writing personal vows to each other?
If so, I invite you to check out my book –
How to Write Your Vows: Giving Voice to What Is Deep Within

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