Maybe I’m Amazed, Into the Mystic, and the future glinting in the present

When Matt and I got married, a hundred years ago, I didn’t overly obsess about most of the wedding details (as you can see, I wore a ponytail and my dress was a sundress, notable only for the fact that it had a scalloped hem).  The only things I really cared about were the songs and the readings.  I cared a lot – agonized, even – about choosing readings for the service and also about our first dance song.  Our readings were two: Cavafy’s Ithaka, and an excerpt from The Book of Qualities.  Our first dance was to Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney and the last song we danced to before we left, on a small boat into the dark harbor, was Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic.

I thought of this yesterday when I was driving and Maybe I’m Amazed came on the radio.  This doesn’t happen much – the song that Paul McCartney wrote for his wife Linda, while lovely, isn’t exactly on constant repeat on Kiss 108.  I chose it, as is often the case when it comes to my musical attachments, for the lyrics.  But really, when I read the lyrics now, I think I chose it for the title.

Maybe I’m amazed.

I couldn’t help thinking, as I drove, the setting sun chasing me home along the Mass Pike, that some part of the 25 year old me knew this would be, in many ways, the anthem of my life.  It’s definitely no understatement to say that I have been startled, and continue to be, by how much flat-out amazement my experience contains.  This life amazes me every single day, with its surprising beauty, with its stunning pain, with its lingering grief, with its enduring sturdiness.  Of course I was thinking of my marriage, and my soon-to-be-husband when I chose Paul McCartney’s somewhat random song, but I think I also knew I was thinking of my life.

Of course Into the Mystic hits the same note, too.  That’s what this life, is after all, isn’t it?  A journey into the mystic, into a dark harbor, into a world lit by sputtering sparklers who consume themselves as they burn brightly, by fireworks whose flare leaves an imprint in the sky even after it fades.  I am so often hard on my younger self, focus so resolutely on all the poor choices I made and things I did not do well enough.  It is a welcome change to recognize that even in that young, impressionable bride there was a flicker of the future, an awareness of the themes that would come to define both my marriage and, most of all, my life.

Are there specific memories, or choices, in your life like this?  Places you can see the future glinting in the present, even if it takes retrospect to really understand what those flashes were?  And if you’re married, what song did you dance your first dance to?


13 thoughts on “Maybe I’m Amazed, Into the Mystic, and the future glinting in the present”

  1. Oh, I have lots of moments like this in my life. You know what quote, “When the student is ready the teacher appears?” Sometimes I think, “Geez, I wish I would have learned this lesson 10 years ago.” But 10 years ago I, undoubtedly, wouldn’t have been able to hear it. This is what I remind myself of when I am hard on a younger version of me.

    We had a very small, unorthodox wedding. Less than 10 guests in a hacienda in the mountains just outside of Santa Fe. We had no first dance — no dancing at all, really. The only elements I really cared about were the food and the service — I wrote most of it myself. My maids of honor, my two best friends, each picked a reading, both perfect. I think what details matter to us tell us something about ourselves, don’t you?

  2. Nothing terribly original – Frank Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight was our first dance. Maybe it was all about my future self remembering the blur of our wedding night. Or, more likely, it was that we had a rocking band in sequined get-ups and I had to reign them in for the first dance. I always knew, even in high school, that I would not get married until after I was 30. Or maybe it was a choice I made and then lived out. In fact, I was 34.

    Into the Mystic is one of my all time favorites. That and Crazy Love. We used to hijack the stereo at college parties and sing both over and over.

  3. I look with amazement on the life you’ve built with Matt. No, life does not unfold seamlessly as we imagine it should, but by setting out those songs and those readings, you wrote yourself a roadmap for how you wanted to travel together, if not where exactly you would go. You have continued to shape, to edit, to change, but to cling tightly to the parts that work.

    At our wedding a forgettable friend read an unforgettable poem (“well water”) that has turned out to be the first page of my book about “the dailiness of life.” Some choices (like who reads the poem) were wrong. Others (the husband, the poem) so very very right.

    It’s mystic, for sure.

  4. Thank goodness for the first response – I don’t remember our first dance song either. I just texted my husband to see if he remembers. I do remember talking about it before hand. But there are many things I remember. I like Elizabeth’s point about what details matter. I wrote a poem for my husband and that was read (I couldn’t read it) and the traditional Love is from the Corinthians and we read The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

  5. what a gorgeous photo…for me, it captures the pure delight, amazement and mystical nature of love. our wedding song was a 70s soul classic: ‘with you i’m born again’ by billy preston and syreeta wright. perhaps the lyrics were life mantras: softness, sweetness and kindness (all qualities i aspire to embody).

  6. I have some moments like this, yes. Some things resonate deeper and deeper as the years go by.

    Our first dance was also the song my husband sang to me when he proposed: Josh Groban’s “When You Say You Love Me.” Still makes me smile.

    One of my favorite parts of our wedding was the entire congregation singing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.” I knew then and I know now: marriages are communal, in so many important ways.

  7. Our first song was What a Wonderful World. And it is. (My hair was just pulled back with a barrette.)

    And the best moment from our wedding was what I couldn’t plan. The toasts. They went on and on, through family and friends, through embarrassing moments to sentimental brilliance. It still brings tears to my eyes. The feeling of love all around!

  8. Just realized that we did not have a wedding song. Never thought about it before. We had a small ceremony in restaurant. Our wedding was very simple. Had a lovely dinner with family and friends. I don’t think there were enough room to dance for anyone anyway. We were in a small “room”.
    I remember I cared for my bouquet so much. Indeed we still have it hanging in our office.

  9. This post made me smile….

    Our first song was “Your My Better Half” by Keith Urban. We walked out of the church to “Into the Mystic” after our first kiss 🙂 Love that song.

  10. “Real Real Gone” by Van Morrison, “. . .You’re a friend of mine. . .” it goes. Almost 15 years into marriage, I love the playfulness and joyfulness in this song. And truly, I have had no greater friend in this life than my husband. We chose it because he was nervous about dancing in front of everyone to a serious song, so we picked this loose, upbeat song instead.

  11. Love reading your blog. It is a near daily dose of goodness. Our readings were very important to us both. We poured over readings for hours. In the end it was an obscure poem that ends with the phrase, “The journey that remains”. My husband has those words inscribed in his wedding band. We have no idea of the journey ahead when we get married. What twists we will go down. What bumps we’ll have to go over. But we knew then, at 24 and 28, that it certainly is a journey.

  12. Lindsey, have we talked about it before — the book of qualities? brian and i gave it out as our ‘wedding gift’ at our wedding to guests. it is a very special book for us….i’ll share some time later why. so lovely!

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