Things you will want to read today:
This lovely, sensitive piece on a lesbian couple planning their wedding in Oklahoma, where the wind — and the judgment — comes sweepin’ down the plain. The main part of the narrative concerns what happened after they sent their invitations, and waited to see who would attend:
The person Kathryn wondered about most was her biological father. He had raised her; after his divorce from Jane, it was the two of them alone in a small, boxy house in the middle of open plains. He was a rural postman and the job suited him — a solitary route that took him down the same path, every day, a hundred miles of roads. His world was predictable and contained, and Kathryn hadn’t found the right way to talk to him about the wedding.
Tracy didn’t know they hadn’t spoken. She sent his invitation in a batch with all the others — and now Kathryn had no choice but to call her father, or he would learn about the ceremony by checking the mail. As the words about the invitation came spilling out, they became words about why she and Tracy had decided, despite all their worries, to have this wedding.
She told him that she didn’t think there was anything wrong with the way she and Tracy felt about each other. She said that marriage was an important rite in the history of humanity, something people had been doing throughout time, and something she wanted to be a part of. She told him that marriage, as a value, was American.
He didn’t say anything. There was only silence on the other end of the line.
It’s really wonderful. Read.
For comic relief, you’re going to want to watch this clip of Sarah Palin at the Iowa Freedom Summit last week. Whenever I see her, I think of the Republicans I knew who were head over heels for her in 2008, at least for a few weeks. Looking at her now must feel like the morning after a hot, fevered night with a beautiful stranger who looks so, so different in the cold morning light. That what have I done feeling must be overwhelming.
And back to sensitive: A good one about the evolving view of divorce by the Catholic church, and by “evolving” I mean “the same, but at least some people are fighting about it,” i.e.:
The battle lines are clear: Some high-level church officials, most notably the conference of German bishops, want the church to relax its rules so that divorced Catholics can more fully return to church life, particularly by receiving communion, even if they have remarried. Traditionalists are pushing back fiercely, arguing that the indissolubility of marriage is ordained by God and therefore nonnegotiable.
I’ve been done with the church for years, but in that time, I’ve come across some annulment-seeking Catholic divorcees, and given testimony in one. All were granted. Nothing seemed to make a difference; 20 years together and three children? Hey, sounds like it wasn’t a true spiritual marriage; go on and get married again, folks. I totally understand why spurned ex-spouses fight so hard against them, as one of the unfortunate Kennedy brides did — seriously, what is the point of being against divorce if you’ll de facto grant them for a few hundred bucks and some nosy questions?
In the testimony I gave — and don’t be deceived by the grand nomenclature; all I did was fill out some forms — there were questions about whether I had knowledge the couple used artificial birth control. Of course they did, as 90 percent of all Catholic couples do, but I thought, well, that’s clever. Talk about your built-in grounds for Catholic divorce.
And so the week begins. Snowpocalypse in the east, cold here, and I’m headed north.