The Summer of his 18th year found Christian preparing for marriage. In this day & age, he'd heard all the whispered comments; 'they're too young', 'they've got their whole lives ahead of them'. Especially with a soon-to-be blushing bride of barely seventeen ( actually, she was still 16 at this point ), the under-the-breath comments were flying faster than the snows that were only a few months away! Even though Mary would be of legal age by the time the wedding rolled around, Christian & Mary were the recipients of many a sideways glance, quite a few raised eyebrows & even a few bits of proffered 'wisdom'. With the wedding date, as well as the first snows, looming on the horizon, the two young lovers were more prepared than most people realized to take that heralded leap!
As the Day approached, both the blushing bride & groom-to be found themselves getting more & more anxious, not because there was any hesitance on their part, but because the peer pressure had risen to almost insurmountable heights! Coming from all quarters, both of these young people were daily assaulted with the freely-given council that they should wait till they were both a bit older ( more mature?), that they should play the field, test the waters, so to speak, before they made such a weighty decision, especially one that would impact the rest of their adult lives. Against all odds, their wedding day finally came & Christian entered into wedded bliss with the love of his life!
Mary was ecstatic! Christian had proven, throughout most of their relatively short lives & even shorter engagement, to be her perfect soulmate! Having known each other since kindergarten, it hadn't taken them long to recognize a kindred spirit, then as lovers from a past life, or even many lifetimes ( if you can believe it ). 'Why', you may ask, 'did they wait so long to 'tie the knot?' Both these young lovers were born into unfortunate circumstances where society told them there was no such thing as reincarnation. Born into fairly strict ( Christian ) families, both these young lovers had been taught from a very early age that everyone had but one life to live & that after death, they would spend eternity in either 'Heaven' or 'Hell'. Both young people, old as they were, knew the Truth of the situation, but they also knew their predicament. If they were to marry before their time, not only would they risk losing their witness to society, they also ran a higher risk of losing both the families they had been born into!
The predicament that our young lovers faced was one that is probably more prevalent in society than most realize, or care to acknowledge! Here in the West, in particular, so much emphasis is placed, not only on what is 'proper', but on what is 'legal' or 'illegal' that what is right often pales in comparison, if it's even a consideration. Christian & Mary found themselves in such a situation. How could they bridge the gap between 'Heaven' & 'Earth' without alienating both the families & society they had been incarnated into? They could easily have flouted convention & decided to enter wedded bliss the way 'God' intended, simply coming together as man & wife, but in order to preserve the 'the ties that bind' ( IE, the families they had both been born into ) & to preserve the peace, both Christian & Mary exercised great patience, as well as self-control, waiting for a more 'appropriate' time to exercise in this current iteration the love they had borne for many lifetimes.
Whether or not one believes in reincarnation, the fact was, Christian & Mary recognized ( some might call it deja vu ) something in each other that was more than physical or even spiritual attraction! They knew that much of what they had been taught was misleading at best & outright lies at worst. They also knew that the Truth would be revealed when the time was right. Waiting for such a time, even bowing ( bending? ) slightly to convention would do them no harm & would likely prevent needless harm to the society that surrounded them. Thus, they waited to consummate their marriage until they were legally wed. With both their families satisfied that all the necessary conventions were met; Christian & Mary finally entered into a state of wedded bliss!
Our young couple, the hero & heroine of our story, had taken that daring first step; what would follow over the course of this present lifetime would be a Journey of Discovery, not so much theirs, but through the lens of their lives, the society that surrounded them would begin to see the Truth. The Truth was, as Christian & Mary already knew, that we, as human beings, are More, More than our humanity; thus we pass from one lifetime to another, animating different persons till we have rectified, or at least, learned not to repeat the mistakes of the past. 'Is that all there is to it?' one might well ask. Of course that's not all there is to it, there is so much More to be known, but that might need to be your own personal Journey of Discovery!
The two young lovers in our Story, like so many before them, had bridged the gap! Through their joining together, their marriage, Christian & Mary had made manifest, at least to those with eyes to see it, the reality of Heaven on Earth. While Christian had proved ( to himself ) these realities, it was not until he was duly wed to Mary that they became clear to those closest to them, who witnessed both their wedding & the following marriage. The More that both these young people had shown to those around them, those who loved them, though in their own way, was that even this earthly existence was not defined by 'Death & Taxes', 'Death & Taxes' were only a very small part of Life. Life, when lived to the fullest, is a veritable Bridge between the seeming drudgery of the day-to-day
here on Earth & the etheric Joys of 'Heaven'.
'Does one need to be married in order to experience this Joy?' Of course not, but it sure helps!
Charles Haddon Shank