- Resource Centers
- Knowledge Base
- Make a Difference
Stories collected for our Resource Centers
Posted on: Thursday, February 11, 2021
Greg: In February 2020, we were a thousand miles apart. I was at my new job in Richmond, Virginia, and Liz was working as a chef on a cruise ship sailing the Mighty Mississip'. I had bought an engagement ring and planned to pop the question come Eastertide... This was the last month of normal before the virus hit. When the work from home order came, I drove 18 hours back to Louisiana to work there.
Liz: When the cruise ship management told us we were shutting down, I was euphoric that I would get to see my family and Greg.
Greg: Because of the virus, we got engaged months earlier than we otherwise could have. The first day we saw each other was March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph. If you're going to propose on a day in Lent, there's really only one good choice.
Liz: Planning the wedding was difficult; finding a reception venue, nearly impossible. The family you always knew you'd be planning a wedding with, weren’t there because they were quarantining. Inviting people to showers was exacerbated by fights over how stringent precautions had to be. The focus shifted from our wedding to the virus, which was more important for many people. Dozens of people cancelled within the month of the wedding, which hurt a great deal. Our reception was at high-risk of being cancelled all the way up to the wedding day itself, which added to the existing stress of the situation.
The walk up to our wedding day was somewhere between Valhalla and Mount Doom. I was filled with so much doubt that something else horrible would stop the
wedding. But my parents were there, prepared for anything, even if it meant holding our wedding reception at their house. It was a wonderful comfort
to me that we could maintain the spiritual development of our marriage. God put the blinders on so that we could focus on what mattered most despite
the doom-and-gloom tumbling down around us. Everything fell into place. The Holy Spirit was there.
Greg: Our wedding was wonderful and the most joyous occasion of my life, because I decided it would be. Yes, the majority of my family did not come. Yes, the reception was a third of the size that my bride wanted it to be. And as the stress built up, I just had to say, over and over and over, "We choose to be joyful." My wife was a princess in her wedding dress, my groomsmen were goofy bachelors, my mom was there to dance with me, and my dad was there to tell me, "Well done." My God was in the Eucharist and he smiled down on me like I've never known Him to do so before. The adage goes "No matter what you take from me, you can't take away my dignity." I propose a modification: "No matter what you take from me, you can't take away my joy."
In retrospect, getting married was the only good thing about 2020. But it was so much greater than all of the bad, that our cup is still overflowing with marital grace.
Posted on: Tuesday, February 09, 2021
My wife and I had only been engaged a couple months when the Wuhan Virus hysterics really took off. When different parts of the country began to shut down travel, businesses, and the like, we didn’t expect it would last long. With an August wedding, we were certain the country would be open by then. Unfortunately, it would seem the powers that be had other plans.
A month out from the wedding, our reception venue cancelled due to Covid restrictions. Then various friends and family members began to back out. This was the biggest setback, especially for my wife, who dreamed of sharing her wedding day with the many people she loved. This was the moment where pushing back the date became a real option, but we held out, with the mindset of making every safety accommodation possible. Every other pew in the cathedral was to remain empty, and hand sanitizer would be readily available to all our guests. We also believed that a prolonged engagement was less than ideal. As much as it hurt not having everyone there, the sacrament remained what was most precious to us. If we could get that right, we could roll with the punches on the rest.
[Pictured: reception "before;" below: reception "after."]
Fortunately, as different walls popped up, we had an excellent support system to help us. They wanted a happy wedding almost as much as we did. When the venue dropped out, my in-laws offered to host the reception on their property. When the baker quit two days before the wedding, a friend offered to make the wedding cake herself. Various families donated air conditioners and decorations. It really was an extraordinary thing to be a part of! The wedding ceremony was picture-perfect. The reception had a variety of hiccups, but what reception doesn’t? We were, and are, married. No virus or world power could take that covenant away from us.
Looking back, the most stressful stuff was not Wuhan-related. That award goes to the category 4 hurricane named “Laura” that hit our state four days after the wedding. That may seem like a lot, but if you read the tortures the woman and her seven sons experienced in the book of Maccabees, one can’t help but conclude that life isn’t that bad. I married my best friend. We’ve been told many times how beautiful our wedding ceremony was and how much fun our reception was. We were on the receiving end of more charity from our community than we could hope to repay. And my wife’s family was there every step of the way plugging the holes that appeared in the bottom of the boat that was our wedding. With all of that in mind, I must affirm that life really is not that bad.