Preparing something for other people be it food, a holiday, choosing a movie or writing a speech is slightly nerve wrecking. What will we eat, what will we drink? Will it be enough, will it be nice. Will they like it. What will I say? Will they understand it, will they appreciate it? Often these nervous preparations are accompanied by dreams. So when thinking of what I would say today I had a bad night, nervous and stressed, and dreaming. I dreamt and in my dream I saw Wilhelm sitting on a sofa smoking a cigar and Angelika coming towards him with a gun (they did not look like newly weds, but rather like old acquaintances, not to say enemies), it looked quite hostile and all Wilhelm said was: Ich seh du kommst bewaffnet! Dreams can get really strange. I don’t think, not having been given the gift to interpret dreams, that the dream had anything to do with Wilhlem and Angelika, but rather with my nervousness. Not to say, that things don’t change, in 25 years.
Dear Angelika and Wilhelm you have been married, like some would dare say, a fricking long time or does it seem to you as just like yesterday. Many things we forget, luckily, many things we remember, luckily.
You know, that when God noticed, that humans were forgetful, he planned on having things written down. Being God he obviously had his plan put into action. He built a big factory to process his words, employed some people, some to make paper, some ink, some as scribes. What he dictated, his scribes wrote down. His word was not questioned, as that was not the duty of the scribes, it was also not in their job description. And the first page went well, everything ran smoothly. “God made the monkeys and the sun and trees and creepy crawly things”: God dictated and the scribes wrote, and we read about it all of last week in the Festerburgandacht, creation was wonderful. No problems in the factory, the first page was out and man was happy to read about creation on fresh paper, freshly printed, the first factory page had a smell like freshly baked bread. To good maybe to be true?
The second page came, and God dictated: “It is not good for man to be alone!” What? They must have heard wrong. “It is good for man to be alone”, the scribes, all male obviously, wrote in great agreement. When the wife is gone to work, the kids are back in school, that’s the best time of my day, they all thought. When I’m sitting all alone in the bush, hunting and listening to the birds, does he want to take that from me. Go to the boeremarket in the early morning cold. Can I never be alone, pick my nose scratch my knee? Goodness, he could not have meant that. The factory came to a sudden stand still. And then again, loud and clear the voice said: “It is not good for man to be alone!” Pushing firmer on the paper the scribes wrote: “It is indeed good for man to be alone” And again even louder: “It is not good for man to be alone!” And with even bolder print the words were written: “It is definitely good for man to be alone”. One, throwing all caution to the wind, feeling his days as scribe having already been numbered, but also feeling that precious poetical freedom: wrote: “No woman, no cry!”. It came as it had to come. Not having a functional union they were all fired and new scribes where brought in. Also woman, and the bill was past, the sentence was written, we know it as it stands, we have learnt it, we have even included it in our wedding-liturgy. We do not understand it. “It is not good for man to be alone!” We say with our lips.
Not good for man to be alone. Then with whom should he be? That was the million dollar question. God made Eve, and boy was Adam excited. When he first saw her, he like said, can I touch that. No?? Ok!! She was like him, made from his rib, he noticed, scratching the scar on his side. It was easy for Adam, there was only one. But for Adams children it became increasingly difficult. Today we hear things like: “Why must it be her?” Her or her. And nobody else. From all the millions and millions of women, I land up with this one. What did I do (good or bad), to deserve her? When God made my wife for me, why should it be her? We meet so many women in our lives, big and small, fat and thin, tall and short, brown and yellow, gifted and not so gifted, squint and balanced, but we end up with the one, the exactly right one for us. Why is that? As we grow up, we fantasies in many shapes and colours. We see a sweetheart and she is so lovely, smells so good, walks so elegantly, is so witty, boy oh boy like in everything-is-perfect kind of way, but being to shy to talk to her, we wish and pray to God, to send a horrible plague, in which only she and I survive on a lovely, lonely island, were we eat fruit and drink nectar all day and have the most wonderful time for all the love in our hearts and minds and so on. The tragedy of all humans not really affecting us to much, but the responsibility of rekindling the human race a task we’re willing to take a go at. It never happened. Some girls did not even answer our calls, love us back, some did not share our enthusiasm, some not seeing in us what we saw in them, some even chose other men before us. Luckily, I suppose. And I landed up with my wife, not on an island but actually in real life, not eating fruit and nectar but heavy pap and rare steak. I’ve seen my wife with a running nose. It’s not always pretty. But she is the one. I should agree now, older, wiser: Luckily someone else was in control. God made her for me.
All jokes aside, luckily God knew better. And after many years, some children and a nice party to remember 25 years. As family we are very happy with Wilhelm, who luckily did not stay alone, but found someone to make him, I hope, a better person. God gave him his Eve, his better half, not on an island but actually here amongst us poor miserable sinners, to eat and drink with us, saying it could not have been better. Gott sei Dank.