An essay I didn’t really want to write
I don’t write about the Church on this blog too much. So I’ll preface this post by saying that I’m a cradle Catholic, an Irish Catholic. The priest who is marrying us asked us to write a 1-page essay on how our partner resembles Christ. Kind of an annoying prompt at this point, but a good one nonetheless. Here’s mine.
The Church’s Bridegroom and Mine
When I think about the reasons I love Jon, that’s where I find his Christ-like qualities. It’s in his tendency to sacrifice for a greater good, his friendships and his knack for storytelling.
If it weren’t for those qualities, especially his sacrifices, our relationship wouldn’t have gotten very far. We met at a business training course in Maryland, but he worked in Boston and I worked in New York. After keeping up a regular correspondence for a month or so, we started visiting each other on weekends.
This long-distance relationship went on for about six months before we decided that long-distance dating was becoming difficult. To be honest, neither of us wanted to move. I had just gotten situated in Hoboken, NJ, had a new group of friends, my first job out of college. He had been in Boston for three years, had a close-knit soccer team, a stable job, a roommate he had known since high school. It was clear that one or both of us would have to sacrifice something to make this work.
It might be easy to think that Jesus was an infallible man who had no doubts in his sacrifice to save the world, but this isn’t quite the case. He had to give up a lot along the way: the carpentry profession that he grew up around, his own biological family, a general sense of privacy, just to name a few. And then of course there’s the moment in the garden when he prays, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.”
When Jon offered to move to Hoboken, I knew it was a huge sacrifice for him. We had been trying to figure out the fairest way to maintain our relationship without having to travel every weekend. This solution wasn’t exactly fair for him. He had told me he didn’t accept change very easily, so for him to uproot himself for me showed a certain amount of faith in our relationship.
His faith increased my faith, and our relationship grew. It was the things I recognized as good qualities at the beginning that just kept showing me what a good man Jon is. His friends range far and wide, from different financial backgrounds, decades of age differences and circumstances. In the same way that Jesus befriended the prostitute, the tax collector and the poor fishermen, Jon is always willing to give everyone a second or a third chance, and I find myself seeing people in a different way when I see them through his eyes. Someone I might write off as not my typical choice of friend suddenly becomes a really cool person who has a lot of interesting things to say.
But before I noticed his friends, it was Jon’s storytelling abilities that I noticed when we first met. Most of his stories don’t have a clever meaning like Jesus’ parables, but he always draws a crowd. Whether it’s about the time that he broke his collar bone and his dad unthinkingly picked him up by the arms, or the guy in the office who just walks around the floor all day, hoping no one will notice, Jon pauses at all the right moments and makes even repeated tales seem new.
We are taught that Jesus is the bridegroom of the church. To show his love for us, he has given us faith through his sacrifice, he has passed along stories and he has shown us to be friends with our fellow man. In his own way, Jon has done all of those things for me.
I realize that this reads like a high school student’s essay, the kind they write when they just want to graduate and get it over with. And that was kind of my thought process as I wrote it. But I did learn something along the way about our faith in each other and how we make each other better people than we are on our own.