Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Before It's Too Late


There are, no doubt, better times to change your mind than at the last minute. If we're completely honest, though, decisions like this have usually been percolating for a long time. So, we're not being impulsive as much as we're finally giving ourselves permission to do something else. I've known of someone who did this and it changed her life. Most of the time, in my experience at least, it happens in the movies.

I'm talking about the bride (or groom) who backs out on the wedding day, and on film, this is very romantic. Usually it involves a guy who is racing to get to the ceremony before it's too late. He crashes into the church, slugs the groom, grabs the bride by the hand, the music comes up, and they drive off into the sunset, leaving the audience to wipe tears and lovers to turn to one another and kiss. It's the perfect formula for a date movie.

In reality, it takes a tremendous amount of nerve to depart from the scrip
t, especially when so many are invested in it. There are guests with gifts to return, there's the minister and musicians, there are family and friends, some of whom are recently married and don't tell me that doesn't generate pressure. When your peers are making the leap and it's like everyone's doing it?

You tell yourself you're being childish, that doubts are normal and you'll be fine once you're on your honeymoon. If you don't go through with it, think of all the people who will be disappointed, maybe heartbroken. You owe it to them to do the right thing, don't you? All through the preparations, you've been so busy it was easy to relegate doubt to the back of the bus, but now it's standing right next to you, breathing down your neck.


I think this might happen more often than we realize and if a person is lucky, there's an aunt or uncle (thank God for aunts and uncles) -- a trusted someone -- who says the words yo
u need most to hear: "You don't have to do this; it's okay to change your mind." Like the handsome prince who alone can awaken Sleeping Beauty, they break the spell and you're free. George Eliot wrote, "It's never too late to be who you might have been." Even if it's not a wedding, even if it's something else, this is so very true. Even if it's at the last minute.


(Creative Commons image entitled "Runaway Bride" by Tina Vega via Flickr)


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