No I am not attending another wedding. I just finished reading Member of the Wedding, written in 1946 by Carson McCullers, a Southern writer. It is about a 12 year old girl named Frankie Addams who feels alone and ready for the next stage of life- ready to be part of something to which she can belong. It takes place over a few short days, but the story packs in the signigicant change that takes place as we lose our childlike look at the world and begin to see it through more mature eyes. F Jasmine, as Frankie now wants to be called, learns that her brother is to be married. Despite warnings and corrections by her nanny, F. Jasmine naively believes that she will be in their wedding and then leave with them for their honeymoon and continue to live with them. Finally, she will belong somewhere. One of my favorite quotes is when Frankie is trying to describe the fulfillment she will get from belonging with her brother and his new wife and she says that her brother and his fiancee, “are the we of me.” What a powerful quote that reflects our need to belong. Frankie lives with her widower, reserved father and has a nanny and a six year old cousin. She has few people in her life, and it is heartbreaking when she realizes the truth about how weddings work.
I love being able to read such a well-written story that you ache for the character as you wait for her to discover what you already know. Isn’t that how life is sometimes? You have to watch someone discover painful truths for himself or herself. You know it will be heartbreaking, but all part of growing up. I do not look forward to those experiences that will surely come with my own children. But as one wise woman reminded me, if I save my children every time from hard things…they will not see their great need of a Savior. Coach Keith, one of our coaches at the high school, puts it this way,”We either prepare the road for the child or prepare the child for the road.”