Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding - Built Up Like Christmas And Over Just As Fast. Or Is It?

I must admit that I really looked forward to the nuptial arrangement of Sir William and Kate at Westminster Abbey. I have had passing obsessions with Princess Diana with my youth, my likely due to the fact that my mother had a lasting obsession herself. I have faint memories of a "Dress Up Doll Diana!" book as a child, one that I never cut up to actually use due to the fact that it was, intuitively, an object to be revered and handled with care. In fact, it still sits on my bookshelf, untouched as ever. It is the very acknowledgement that it remains untouched that provides insight into the way I have handled the royal wedding and all the media clamor that it has entailed. Around the nation, eyes remain peeled and glued to television screens, eager to observe every move of the couple. The question behind each set of eyes, however, is the same - Why? Why, despite our rationale that all of this has been blown out of proportion, are we so desperate to not miss a second of it? "It doesn't impact out lives; there are greater issues at hand," we say to each other. But in our homes, on our computers, even on the newspapers littering our kitchen tables, stand William and Kate, photograph after photograph, article after article. And we hunger to take it in.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I have a theory. First of all, we all remember Princess Diana - the regal, beautiful woman who took it upon herself to be the strongest woman she could while in a position that most conform within to cling to semblance of comfort. We watched her death - the controversy. We were trained to revere. We knew we had witnessed something horrific, something out of control. And the explanations we received left something to be desired.
My mother and I watched the Lifetime movies. Diana became a symbol. I'm not sure what she became a symbol of, but she magically transformed from being a Princess met with a tragic end into a legend - how could something so awful happen to someone of such a status? The royal family of afar became shrouded in darkness. And we watched as her children grew out into the light.
Now, William old enough to marry. . . will the woman he chooses live up to her role? Does she know what she's getting herself into? The same old questions tie into a tired line of dialogue. So why do we all seem to care so much?

Today, the Huffington Post ran an article by Paul Raushenbush entitled, "The Royal Wedding as Sacrament." A few things that Raushenbush stated really rang true to me, and put into perspective exactly why many of us may be acting in such a manner contradictory to our guiding principle.
"Weddings are intrinsically hopeful acts. Yet they are also realistic. Within the very liturgy of marriage there is acknowledgment of sickness and poverty, and the certainty of death. Standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace were individuals who have seen great sorrow and the absence of the groom's mother was a reminder of the fragility both of weddings and of life itself. In the face of all this, the liturgy of marriage involves a forceful assertion of the value and necessity of commitment to the future with mutual support and unity, even within the face of adversity."
Not only does Raushenbush touch on the significance of the wedding in relation to Princess Diana - he reminds us of our mortality. The royal wedding may not be a turning point in all of our lives, an event so monumental that we, ourselves, will be forever altered. What it is, however, is a reminder to all of us that there is hope in this world just as there is tragedy. We may not relate to Will and Kate, but what we can relate to is the symbolic value their matrimony lends to England. In a world where "sickness and poverty" are threatening greater pockets of the population, here is a moment of light on which all can concentrate. Even William and Kate are reminded of their fate; for their lives are the ones that truly are changing, and with their vows comes the promise to each other to remain faithful till death. Raushenbush asks us to do the same, if only in our religious lives:
"The sacrament of marriage includes the blessing of God's providence. Within the ornate language of the liturgy of matrimony shines a deep longing that God will strengthen the ties that bind the couple to one another and bring them peace. Perhaps what we are all longing for when we watch this beautiful spectacle is to remember God's blessing on our own lives, to help reconcile our own relationships and bring peace to our fractured world."
One needn't believe in such a God to take a lesson from Raushenbush's words. The royal wedding just may serve as an unconscious reminder that life goes on. Acknowledge our strength now. Life is not a hurdle, but an invitation to cross the finish line into a new beginning - motivation to tie together our loose ends in the same way William and Kate tie their lives together now.

Perhaps I and all of my female sisters out there have just developed a princess complex better left unexplored. Or maybe there really is something greater going on beneath the gossip and glamour of a new princess being introduced to the world.
Rest in Peace, Di

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