Why My Recovery Inspired the Reading of an Unorthodox Gospel at Our Wedding

When attending wedding ceremonies, people generally expect the theme of the readings to be about love and life, rainbows and butterflies. These speeches are known for eloquently explaining why the bride and groom have come together in unity to live a lifetime filled with love, hope, happiness and compassion.

While I have grown up a Catholic and recently married my husband in a full Catholic ceremony, I have always felt that Gospels and readings have the power to influence anyone – regardless of if they are religious or not and no matter what their struggles may be. The Gospel at our wedding (Mark 5: 21-24, 35-43) was unique for any wedding ceremony, to say the least. Often referred to as the story when Jesus heals and raises a dying girl, this Gospel could be mistaken for a funeral story. But it’s actually the opposite. Whether you attend mass every day or consider yourself an atheist, the story is about hope, strength and love in hard times – things we all can value. And those hard times got me to where I am today.

Over a decade ago, during one of the most difficult times in my life, I was in treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression. I can tell you it was nothing like what you see on TV. No beachfront views, no spa days and no breakfasts in bed. No iPhones or iPads, just “I.” But “I” had the power to make the best of it and looking back, I wouldn’t trade my experience for anywhere else in the world. Yes, it was scary at first. Yes, I had no control of leaving. And yes, there were people with way bigger issues than mine, but those patients helped bring me back to life – paralleling the theme in the Gospel of the dying girl at our wedding.

If you listen to others, you’ll learn. If you believe in hope – regardless of who you are and what your circumstances may be – you’ll find it. I discovered a new meaning to this term and whether it was finding “hope” in someone else’s journey and struggles with mental illness or simply coming across the word in a magazine, I realized hope is everywhere and can be found in any situation.

This Gospel story represents where I am today and who got me here. While I have felt like I was a dying girl inside at points of my life, without the inner struggle I would not have found my inner strength. And that is a big part of who I am and it is a trait my husband values in me. While everyone’s brain is wired differently, we can always take away something positive from someone else’s story (even in a reading for a wedding!).

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