Today is the day. I stared at my reflection in the smudged glass, running my hand down the side of my purple, sequin dress. What would my family or his family think? How would I tell my friends?I pursed my lips together to even out the velvety lipstick – it all felt so surreal.
“You ready to go?” His voice echoed throughout the house.
“I’m ready.” Grabbing my clutch, I made my way down the soft carpeted stairs. He smiled up at me as I descended.
I gave a smirk before slipping on my coat. “Surprisingly, no.”
It was a particularly chilly October day as we made our way to the Lincoln State Capitol. The four of us hastened up the Capitol steps as each stiff breeze stung our already rosy cheeks. It all happened so fast – the ceremony, the pictures, and the once-in-a-lifetime commitment we made to each other. Being the spontaneous person that I am, I suggested months prior that we should elope in secret, and he agreed. Looking back, I can’t help but smile at the excitement and adventure we experienced in that moment. We had officially eloped without telling anyone but our two witnesses (my brother and my close college friend). After a year of long distance, I finally married my best friend of six years. And despite the frigid October weather, it was an exciting day that I’ll always remember.
After sharing our news, both of our families were understandably shocked, yet excited to hear of our elopement. We promised we’d still throw a big traditional wedding on our first anniversary so that everyone could celebrate. However, when news snuck out that my husband and I had eloped, friends were surprisingly not so pleased. We received a lot of raw opinions and sheer disapproval. What was supposed to be the happiest decision of my life became a sore subject among some of my closest friends. I felt disappointed that a personal decision that I made became the topic of gossip among many. It was even more hurtful to hear such disapproval being spread around without anyone directly coming to me.
These past few months of marriage, I have received multiple comments about my decision to elope. Friends have expressed their annoyance and hurt feelings over not being invited to a traditional wedding. I’ve received comments like: “You’re not ready, why rush?” and “Your decision is disappointing. You should have had a traditional wedding.” Although these comments remain frustrating, I realize that it’s not necessarily about the big traditional day; the most important outcome is that my husband and I made a commitment to each other.
Receiving the aftermath of my elopement reminds me of a deeper, more spiritual scenario. As Christians, we often show our disapproval of others in their spiritual journey. Some of us want people to accept Christ in a way that we see is correct. It’s easy to judge too quickly or speak too harshly, and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve found myself casting judgment. In the end, someone else’s relationship with Christ is their own; it’s not up to us what that relationship should look like.
Our Savior values each of us. He meets us where we are, despite how we got there. I realize that it’s not always about finding Christ in a traditional way; it’s that we are committed to following Him. Archibald MacLeish sums it up perfectly:
“Religion is at its best when it makes us ask hard questions of ourselves. It is at its worst when it deludes us into thinking we have all the answers for everybody else.”
Maddie Temple-Lowe writes from Lincoln, Nebraska.© 2002 - 2019, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.