As one might imagine, part of my job as a minister is performing marriage ceremonies. Because of the hundreds of years old system they have here, the most recent registrar entries are kept in the church’s safe. Every so often someone comes along needing a copy. So, I get my key, go into the safe and rifle through years of entries signifying marriages over the years. That’s always fascinating, especially if the church goes back a ways, you can see some old entries! Then, I find the right entry and copy it onto a marriage certificate form. Sometimes they need a new one because the couple lost theirs and they need one (April and I have had to do that on several occasions because no matter how many times we present one, the American Embassy seems to forget we are married).
Other times the request comes from a solicitor’s office, which means the couple have lost their marriage certificate, and presumably their love for one another. I have to make the copies because they need one to start the divorce proceedings. I had one of those today.
As I copied out the details on the certificate copy form, I felt a sudden sensation of sadness. I don’t know the couple, as they were before my time and don’t live in the area, but I thought about the weddings I have done and the excitement that surrounds them: that sense of relief when we come to signing the register because the service is nearly over and they laugh at me giving strange instructions or trying to get the blasted pen and ink to work – oh, and making sure the bride gets none of the ink on her dress because that ink is meant to last hundreds of years. The couple always look so happy, and I could only imagine that it was the same for this couple that were now preparing for divorce. Their life together stood before them that day, and now it’s over for them.
I’m not making any judgments, as I said I have no idea what happened to them. But, I do feel a sense of sorrow for the couple on that day so long ago that had so many hopes for their life together and for whatever reason, they go their separate ways. So to this unknown couple, I offer my prayers.