Comedian Jamie Lee is now Netflix’s The Wedding Coach where she’s on a mission to help couples survive the craziness of planning a wedding. A wedding is an event, but a marriage is not an event. During the filming of the show, Jamie’s own relationship began to unravel.
In this episode, Kate and Jamie discuss:
Follow Jamie Lee on her Instagram or on her Twitter. You can also watch her on her new show The Wedding Coach on Netflix.
Jamie Lee wrote the book Weddiculous: An Unfiltered Guide to Being a Bride. You can find it here. She has also been in a number of shows such as the show 10 Things, Crashing which is streaming on HBO Max, and MTV’s Girl Code. Jamie also wrote an episode of Ted Lasso, you can watch it on Apple TV+.
Wonder what I looked like as a wedding cellist? It was something like this.
Want to learn more about Mennonite weddings? You’re in luck – go to this link or this one to learn more.
Wonder what Toban and I looked like on our wedding day? Go visit this anniversary post from 4 years ago. (PS – I told you that we were babies!)
One thing I’ve used when loved ones have gone through a divorce are greeting cards like this pancake card, this one by our friend Emily McDowell, and this “divorce card” card. Because sometimes just showing you’ll be there can make a big difference for someone.
Kate Bowler: I’m Kate Bowler, and this is Everything Happens. I’m a historian, author, aggressively, fast walker. But lately, in a world that promises endless progress, even now in a pandemic, I realized I just need to be a person. It’s hard to give up on the feeling that the life you want is just out of reach. If only you tried to eat this food, find that relationship, just get the kids graduated or the parents this kind of care. Only then will I feel different, better, whole. But that’s not the way this works. When I was 35, I was diagnosed with stage four cancer. And here’s the very fun thing about that. The world loves you better when you are shiny, when you are cheerful, when you still believe that your best life now is right around the corner. I’ve written multiple books on the history of the idea that you can always fix your life. So I’m going to be the one to say it. There are some things we can change and some things we can’t. And it’s OK that life isn’t always getting better. We can have beauty and meaning, community and love, and we will need each other if we’re going to tell the truth. Life is a chronic condition and there’s no cure for being human.
Kate: Starting when I was about 12, I began to be a special part of helping people commit their lives to one another, to pledge their troth, as some liturgies read, to get hitched. For over a decade, I was the musical act for hundreds of weddings. I was part of a stunning quartet, two violins, a viola and me on cello called the Amichi String Quartet, the Italian word for friends. We were very tasteful, matching all black outfits of sateen pants and button up cotton shirt from the Gap for the service and the reception. Though every now and then we busted out the matching sweatshirts that we made with puff paint and this is how it normally went. I would play Pachelbel’s Canon, like the classic bridal anthem is just like that and that kind of thing while the bride came up the aisle and even though the cello part is exactly eight notes played fifty six times, I kept a very serious and supportive face throughout and then the bride and groom would stare at each other nervously while the 10 or so members of the wedding party would fidget loudly in their giant matching satin dresses. And those paper suits that you can get from that place at the mall. I like to play something sort of jazzy like Stand By Me for the signing of the registry, but I really, truly proved my value during the vows when I saw people do some truly horrendous things before God and their fellow man. Their crimes against love include poetry, scat poetry, very strange anecdotes about times they now regret, winging it. A lot of winging it or my personal favorite, singing their vows to one another, like each would be handed a mic and then they would kind of hook around elbows and then they would be like tomorrow morning when you wake up and the sun will dawn. And then together their voices would do they like I, I will be here part which was and then I would use my cello as a shield so that no one could see the tears of joy streaming down my face. Weddings. They promise us the fantasy of lasting love and sometimes they’re everything we hope that they will be. And the rest of the time it is an awful, wonderful comedy of us trying to be our best selves to the sound of a junior high string quartet playing I Got You, Babe. My guest today knows more than she expected about the best and worst of weddings, Jamie Lee is a comedian, actress, writer and former bride. You will recognize her from HBO’s Crashing or having enjoyed the absolutely perfect Ted Lasso episode that she wrote. No, really. Go watch it. It’s brilliant. She’s brilliant. Jamie is now on a mission to help couples survive the craziness of planning a wedding on her new Netflix show, The Wedding Coach. Jamie, I love you. Thank you so much for being here. Hello.
Jamie Lee: Oh, my goodness. I mean, obviously, this is a podcast that no one can see me, but I had my hand over my mouth cracking up at the image of you. Oh, my God. All of that was just so fantastic.
Kate: I’m just really supportive of other people’s love.
Jamie: Singing vows.I mean, I was crying over here laughing.
Kate Bowler: But why do we need so many mics? Doesn’t the pastor just need a mic ight now?
Jamie: That is so funny to me. It’s just just perfect. Just perfect.
Kate: My husband’s family is from a Mennonite background, and they used to have this tradition where the bride and the groom had to get married at the end of the church service like the one that was already planned. So you just got up in your only slightly nicer clothes and they were just like, hey, congratulations, you’re not that special, you know what’s special today? God. Again. It’s Sunday.
Jamie: Wow, that’s interesting.
Kate: It made me think, you know, our culture has such a very different emphasis on weddings. What do you think our cultures version of a wedding is like an idealized wedding should be?
Jamie: I think that our weddings have become they really have sort of become event focused, I would say. And it’s sad that it’s actually really hard for me to answer that question. Like, I’m not I’m honestly not sure. Like, I don’t know if you feel that way. Like, I, I, I feel like I know what weddings were supposed to be for. And I want to say earnestly that they are about honoring this union between these two people who are committing to each other because the love is so strong and so real. But then when you’re at weddings, not all weddings, but many weddings, most weddings, I’d even say they kind of seem to be more about like the table scape and, you know, what songs are being played and what food’s being served and, you know, and they get like a cookie flavor for the cake, like champagne flavored or rose flavored, which, by the way, it tastes like potpourri. And, you know, it’s like I’m just I just think that the industry element of it, while I do love it and celebrate it and a wholeheartedly bought into it when I was getting married, that part of it, I think, is conflated a little bit with the actual sentiments being shared between two people.
Kate: Totally. And it’s so easy to go then into like observer mode. Like I remember like I’ll never forget the wedding that was ruined for me by, like, too many salads, like, you know, I love that couple. And why am I so focused on the salad, you know?
Jamie: Oh, I totally know that feeling. Well, I also have a theory that with weddings, you know, we place all this emphasis on like what’s going to be served for dinner. But when you’re there, you realize you really just need some quantity. You want to know that you’re not going hungry while you’re sort of trapped in this one location during dinner time for five hours. Like it’s almost not about the best chicken or the best, you know, veggie enchiladas. It’s like, do you just have a lot of tortilla chips? Like, I just need a lot of chips to hold me over. That’s all I need.
Kate: That was totally the best part of marrying Mennonite is like every Mennonite grandma has the ability to scale any meal by two hundred. They’re like, do I need it for just my family or do I need it for two hundred families? Like great. So they can make bread, they can make jello, they can add, they just have the ability, they’re like preternatural bulkers. So yeah we have I think, I think our wedding meal because we were twenty two was priced at something like two dollars and fifty cents per plate. They’re like we’re going to get so much starch in there you won’t even understand.
Jamie: Honestly that sounds perfect to me. Every time I’m at a wedding I’m just like more dinner rolls, more butter, just like load me up on hot rolls and hot dairy and I’ll be good to go.
Kate: That’s exactly right. So you are a wedding coach. I just loved watching you in action on your show. You’re so compassionate and funny and people are having so many problems. It’s a show. It’s a person. Tell me about being a wedding coach.
Jamie: I mean, it all started just because I am a comedian and I was getting married and I had just had I had a lot of strong feelings on everything that I was going through in the wedding planning process. And then I wrote a book and then the book was turned into a show. And it was actually like a really fun transition because like you just said, you know, you get to go in and, like, help people who are really dealing with something. And I think that it’s very easy for, again, sort of society to write off wedding stress as like its own thing, and it doesn’t carry as much weight because, you know, of course, it’s stressful, but it’s like no stress is real and like it makes people sick. So, like, we shouldn’t be diminishing it just because, like, you get to wear a white dress at the end of it, it’s still very real. You’re dealing with a lot of family dynamics and yeah, really uncomfortable conversations and, you know, getting to know your in-laws and getting to know yourself even through the process.
Kate: You know, the second you said wedding coach is a term, I was like, wait, I think I know. So I know that the term, this is just from my book on Preacher’s Wives, but like it was about, I was studying when pastors started calling themselves life coaches. But I was like, when did anyone start calling themselves life coaches? And the answer, I guess, was the 80s when athletes started moving into corporations to offer advice like and this is how you hit the home run of your job. And so then they started dressing in athleisure to give these pep talks. And then all of a sudden, like, so there was the business coach, became the life coach, became the, you know, I guess became the wedding coach.
Jamie: Oh, I love that tidbit. Professor Bowler in the house serving up the education, even just on the pod. I love it so much.
Kate: Wait, did somebody say history lesson?
Kate: I do think I’ve had this asked a couple of times, like, why would a comedian be the person to help people? But actually I will say, like not to toot our own horns. Comedians are like inherently very observational. We’re very, like tuned into people’s micro moods. So I actually think we’re very equipped for that kind of job.
Kate: In the category of my favorite things about comedians is because they understand the tragicomedy of life in general, they’re always wonderfully inherently vulnerable in some very accessible way, which I love, and then they love the truth. They just love it. And I think this gets at the question of like, why do people need help with a wedding? Why are wedding so stressful? And it’s because, like, so much of weddings are just part of this collision course of cultural myths. Right. Is like how we’re supposed to combine event planning with this story about soul completing love and forever togetherness. And like I would want a comedian there to be like, is this what we mean to be doing?
Jamie: Absolutely. God, that’s so beautifully put and it’s so true. Like, we definitely are able to sort of like hold a black light over this very complicated, emotional, but also like prodcedurial role that brides fall into, where we’re kind of like running the show. Even if you hire people to help you run the show, you’re still like the stage manager, like people are still coming up to you, asking you lots of questions, expecting answers. And, you know, but then you’re also you’re the stage manager, but then you’re also supposed to be an audience member.
Kate: Yes. There’s so many cultural stories about like, you know, the end of the movie is the wedding. That’s when self actualization has occurred. She knows herself and now she’s met that person who knows her, too.
Jamie: Yeah. And it’s like now the movie can end and you’re like, wait. But in real life, that’s the beginning. Like, that’s the start of it. That’s not the end. That’s just scratching the surface. Like the journey has just begun. So I think that also confuses people because they’re like, oh, it’s this unbelievable high. But then no one has written the narrative about what happens next that isn’t completely doom and gloom, especially like in American television. I feel like especially when I was growing up, like all of the sitcoms about marriage, like the wedding was always delightful. The wedding was always glorious. But then when you had any kind of narrative about marriage. It was always like like my annoying husband. And my even more annoying wife, you know? And you’re just like, oh, OK, that sounds terrible. You guys hate each other.
Kate: I think I had a very and this is the peak of my life narrative about weddings, I. I was one of those like child brides, I got married at 22 and to the boy that I dated in high school, and the part that I find so unbelievably funny about it, looking back, is that I performed a song at my own reception. I was like just a little surprised number.
Jamie: Oh, I love this,
Kate: You know, in a church basement surrounded by relatives and I did a very stunning performance of the Etta James song, At Last, like at last. At last, a child who is not old enough to rent a car has found her match. At last, a lovely child has found her Prince Charming. And I don’t know what I thought. I think I had some kind of picture in my mind that, like, my life was getting, like, wrapped up in some way. And at 40, looking back on that twenty two year old, I find it very sweet, incredibly delusional. Like we keep living. We keep changing. Like, what kind of mindset do you think that you had going into getting married?
Jamie: Oh, my first of all, I mean, let’s just take a moment. You at twenty two singing At Last in a basement. I mean, I’m eating this up and living for it in every possible way. We can’t just let that moment pass us by. I just need to take a sec with that visual. But yeah. Sorry. What was the question. I’m the worst guest.
Kate: I’m just really hoping there’s no video of it. I can’t tell you.
Jamie: Well you know that was my follow up Kate was where is that footage?
Kate: I was very, very easily just like yeah, it had a real I think it had the hype. I really. Yeah. Yeah I. And it was a wedding without alcohol, and I think, like, how did they survive it? Like, how did anyone survive this insufferable child?
Jamie: OK, wait, what was the question, though, for real?
Kate: I’m thinking. All right, when you, what do you think your mindset was when you got married? Like, how old were you? What how are you framing it in your mind?
Jamie: Yeah, I was thirty three when I got married, went into it just kind of not knowing what it was going to look like. I had a lot of people telling me it was going to be stressful. I did not anticipate that I would succumb to that. I really was not someone who grew up thinking about my wedding planning my wedding. I had no idea of like where I was going to have it, how many guests? Like, I really wasn’t dreaming about it since I was a kid, like a lot of girls, you know, you hear that. So I kind of thought that I was the best possible candidate because I had such a low bar and low expectations, not low expectations, but no expectations. Like, I didn’t even know what to expect. And so then when things started to get really messy and stressful and my fiancee and I were arguing a lot and people were mad at me and I was just like, what is happening? Like, it just got so out of control. And I kind of didn’t know where to start pointing fingers. I’m like, OK, I guess I’ll blame myself or do I blame my fiancee or do I blame my parents or his parents? Who are we all just culpable here? Like I just brought out so many emotions that I was not anticipating.
Kate: Yeah, yeah. It does seem like weddings and funerals, they’re like a strange part of so many people’s stories coming together. And everybody I don’t know. And I just think of weddings that I have been a part of that exploded.
Kate: Yeah. And I think maybe sometimes we all just had a different story of what we wanted to happen. And then it was all supposed to happen on the same day and then it just didn’t.
Jamie: Yeah, yeah. I am in a very strange situation now where my husband we’re actually separated, but we also were best friends and like truly respect each other’s creative talents in an immense way. So he actually worked on my show when we were still together. He was like my go to comedy producer and like so tremendously helpful and hilarious and like, truly couldn’t have done it without him. And we’re creating this show. We’re still together at the time, creating this show in the trenches, working with couples, debriefing afterwards, using our own experience to try and help people and use comedy to get them through the tough times. And then it’s like the pandemic hits, which is like its own, you know, manifesting tragedies for everybody and all these different terrible ways. And then and then our relationship starts to take a toll. And then the show called The Wedding Coach is coming out. I mean, now I’m going to potentially be a divorced wedding coach.
Kate: Oh, hon.
Jamie: I mean, you can’t not laugh at it like life is so life is actually so funny. It is just you cannot write this stuff, you actually cannot plan for it. It’s pretty wild. So that’s where we’re at. And again, luckily we’re like very good friends and able to laugh at it. But it is kind of like a life slapping you across the face moment when you’re like, wow, this is yeah. We’re like really going through something. We didn’t have children, but we did birth a TV show about weddings, even though we’re getting divorced.
Kate: Yes. Oh, and it’s still it’s so. It’s so. Gosh. You know, and I can always hear it, too, when people are like trying to run the math on their life or their own life, they’re like, well, at least it was like this. And at least we didn’t have, you know, at least we didn’t have kids. At least we eccetera, eccetera, It sounds like it was and is like a beautiful and complicated and layered kind of sadness to lose that part of who you were together.
Jamie: Yeah. I mean, I’ve had moments where I’m laughing at it and I’ve had other moments where I, like, truly break down just like. Yeah, just like hysterical. I’m like, what is happening. Not to be like I’m the only one, but like how many people have like a wedding show and you’re not like. But that part is so specific, It’s just like it’s yeah. It’s very specific. And again, thank God same way I felt when I was writing my book, like thank God to have an outlet, you know, lucky to have an outlet where I can talk about this kind of thing and have conversations about it and hopefully destigmatize anything people are insecure about in the space of relationships. And how does it look from the outside and what are people going to think? And you know that stuff. I know this podcast, this podcast deals with a lot of like very unbelievable, beautiful, serious grief. And it’s interesting to me because I’m such a fan of this show and I’m like, there’s also this like there is sort of like micro grief as well, where you’re like you’re like experiencing you’re experiencing sort of like symptoms of mourning in a way. But technically there’s no loss. But there also is and it’s nice to have a space like your show to be able to talk about grief that happens when people are still alive.
Kate: Yes, that’s right. And to lower the qualifications for whether people feel like they’re allowed to say, like, I’m suffering. And I didn’t mean for life to turn out this way. And I I miss the person that we were together, like so many forms of losing people. And you’re exactly right. Like while people are still living is. That is a messy kind of of love and loss.
Jamie: Yeah, yeah, and there’s also a sort of similar to the way you’re told you’re supposed to feel around weddings. There’s almost a little bit like, you know, like you should be feeling great. You should be feeling elated, everything’s great. And then you’re like, but why don’t I feel great? It’s like there is a little bit of that, too with the end of relationships, like you were saying, people will be like, well, at least you didn’t have kids, at least you, you know, and you’re like, yeah, but that doesn’t really that doesn’t actually fix the feelings you’re going through of just like, oh, my friend that I lived with every single day. I mean, we were together for ten years. It’s like that person doesn’t we don’t live together anymore and we don’t get to just like cook a meal together or like sort of like complain about our days like that. All is just like not there. And again, I think it’s like a micro grief of like change just is a type of grief, I guess.
Kate: Yeah. Yeah. I hadn’t thought about the like it drives me absolutely insane when people have these, like, bounce forward better than before, everything happens, even. I didn’t realize you’re right. Like there is a story where you’re supposed to be like where they’re supposed to be like a victory divorce narrative in which you’re supposed to be like. Well, and then I learned something. No regrets. And now it’s weird, but everything is better and therefore justifies everything I lost. So now, I’m using this voice. This is my voice now.
Jamie: This is my voice. This is my I’m happy to be getting a divorce. The divorce voice. Yeah, I think also. It’s interesting, too, because it’s like even if it’s for the best, there’s also like I don’t feel like people really hold space for that notion of like, yes, it is for the best. But just because it’s for the best doesn’t mean it’s clean. It’s like in a lot of ways it’s way messier when you both love each other but you know that this maybe isn’t the right relationship for the two of you. That to me is like I mean, I joke about this, but like I’ve said to friends and like, oh, I wish that I, like, despised him. It’s like obviously I don’t wish that. But there is a clean break element to that. And that’s just not the case. It’s so much more gray area than that. And that has been a blessing in that we can still like work together and be creative together. And I do think that, like, the friendship is there and we’ll persevere. But that part of it, I think transitioning from like being partners to like being pals is just. Yeah, it’s a tough it’s a tough one.
Kate: Yeah. Yeah, I can see. I just it’s reminding me of a conversation I had with someone who was an expert in dementia, and they were just saying it’s hard to have that kind of love, the love that has to be changed. The love that doesn’t get to keep its own self narration. Like it doesn’t get to keep the story.
Jamie: Wow, wow, wow, wow.
Kate: Like, that’s it’s hard not to get the keep the story of like. Yeah but this is how we love each other and this is how we were together and this is how we got to sounds like share ideas and then now I have to switch to a different story and I just this is while you’re still there.
Jamie: Yeah, oh, my goodness, wow, that’s profound.
Kate: One thing that occurred to me right after I got sick was that I was part of this sort of group of people that get food, you know, when you go through something awful, like a kind of pastoral culture and that like, my pain qualified me for other people’s compassion. But that may be like divorce is one of those topics where depending people might feel like they are entitled to have their evaluation first about whether or not they feel like. Did you I don’t know, did you try hard enough to meet my criteria for forever? Did you follow my spiritual emotional commitments to what I think marriage should be? Does your story tell the story I need it to tell? And then. And if then you can have, you know, like the stop by and the flowers and the food.
Jamie: Yeah. There’s no unfortunately no divorce casserole culture. I haven’t gotten a single food item homemade out of this, but you know.
Kate: Yeah. I don’t like that.
Jamie: Yeah. I in some ways there’s like such a weird shame around it too because I think a lot of this is like self-inflicted. But like I also had a lot of ideas of like what marriage means and like, you know, I don’t take it lightly. I’m not someone who was like, I’ll get divorced one day. Like, I you know, I don’t have a lot of divorce in my family. So, yeah, I think it’s also like you feel really lonely in the experience, which is so interesting because it happens to so many people. But then if you start to sort of embrace that narrative, then you’re like, oh, maybe I don’t value marriage. Like, this is so common. You know, it’s so this is just what you do is like there are a lot of marriages end in divorce. Like now you’re part of that statistic and it’s like, oh, I kind of wanted to be the marriage, that last statistic,
Kate: You know, like right. None of us live up to our own ideals and it’s OK to be sad about that. And simultaneously believe that you are like worthy of everybody else’s love and compassion and support, as you have to totally remake your life at the same time. I kind of wondered if, you know, because when you see all these rituals for how people combine their lives, that there might be some nice, you know, like non triumphalistic just but still fun and joyful, like, you know, we’ve got like wedding showers and bachelorette parties and magazines and like, what if we created more of like also just a divorce support industry?
Jamie: That is so brilliant.
Kate: Like, I think there’s a lot of potential there where people get showers for their new apartment and they get like a, it would actually be more, I think, sexually appropriate, frankly, to have the party for now. You get to go back out into the world as opposed to now here’s a stripper I hope you enjoy.
Jamie: My goodness, that is such a brilliant point. That is so true. The Bachelorette should be for the divorced person. I mean, sure. Keep it for the bride as well. I’m not trying to dismantle Bachelorette’s. They’re a blast, but like, wow, it’s so true. There should be Divorced bachelorette and bachelor.
Kate: Welcome back, now you’re out into the world. It’s like.
Jamie: Welcome Back! Let’s go to Vegas.
Kate: This makes more sense now.
Jamie: Yeah. If the relationship is amicable, it would be pretty funny to have the two of you host the party and you put like on an urn. You just write like Mr. and Mrs.. And it’s just like we’re saying goodbye to the label.
Kate: I love that.
Jamie: Maybe we maybe we burn our ketubah and then that’s the ashes we put in the urn and then we throw that in an ocean. That’s kind of fun.
Kate: That’s beautiful. It’s sort of bizarrely darkly wonderful.
Kate: I mean, what you’re describing is like. Divorce is the most common kind of grief and not common is in basic, just common as in like everyday, real, so frequent, as important as every other thing kind of suffering. And there’s so little language to help support people. And there are so few rituals for it. And there’s like, I don’t know, not a lot of good advice, I think, on how to be a good how to be a good friend or how to be a good. So I don’t know. We were just trying to brainstorm things that might be helpful, things that feel like love and actually wanted to get Jessica Richie my producer to just give you an example of what worked for her, because it was kind of fantastic.
Jamie: I would love that.
Jessica Richie: I went through a divorce a few years ago and my house had become just a mausoleum. All, you know, I was a young 20 mid 20s and I just had wedding photos and engagement photos and I had no idea what to do with them. I couldn’t take them down. It felt a little permanent. So one time when I was out of town, my delightful sisters replaced every photo with Gray’s Anatomy characters. So then I had a shrine to like McDreamy and McSteamy. And then at my parents house where all of our family photos involved, like my ex-husband in the picture, they cut out their own head and my sister’s own head and stuck their head on the picture so the picture didn’t have to come down. But then there was their smiling face, like duplicated. So it was perfect and delightful. And it was like the best way to handle an imperfect situation that I loved.
Jamie: And I love the humor around that, too. It really feels good to laugh when things are hard. You know, there are varying degrees of how to handle the jokes and the levels of the jokes and what’s too far. But jokes are really important, like they really do heal you. And I do think that what she’s saying is like, perfect.
Kate: What are some other things we can think of that feel like love? If you’re losing your if you’re losing your relationship,
Jamie: There is something nice about someone saying congratulations, which I know as I say it now, I’m like, that does sound mocking like, oh, congrats on your divorce. But like there is at least in my case, this is not something this is not a decision that came easily to me. If anything, it was truly like years of being like, should I should I stay or should I go? Which actually I’m realizing is quite common that a lot of people are in that position, especially when they really love the person and value them. So the decision to go is actually like a very hard one to make. It’s not something that you’re just like, you know what, I’m done and you walk out. Like that’s in movies. That’s not real. It’s years and years of deliberation. So I did appreciate people saying congrats because to me it wasn’t the congrats on us not being together. It was like the congrats on making a choice that was really hard. But ultimately you knew was right. There’s something that. I don’t know if bravery is the right word, it feels a little heavy handed, but I do feel like there was a slight acknowledgment of bravery, which I wasn’t acknowledging for myself. So to have friends acknowledge it was like just really felt very loving.
Kate: Oh, that’s good. You are brilliant and talented and unbelievably soft hearted. And I love watching you work. Thank you so much for having this conversation with me and for being so vulnerable about the beautiful imperfection of loving people.
Jamie: Thank you for having me. It was truly like the best to be here. So thank you.
Kate: A life is made up of so many beginnings and so many endings, we start new jobs and leave old ones. We move to new cities and leave our childhood hobbies in our parents basement. We become new people slowly and hopefully the kinder and funnier type. Friends and relationships come and go. Dreams are born and then they die. So if you’re finding yourself in one of those transitional places between the old and the new, between closed doors and one still to come, this blessing is for you. Blessed are you on the brink of something new. A new life, a new career, a new commitment, a new relationship, a new decade. Blessed are you, dear one so full of hope. You whose horizon extends far beyond what your eyes can see. May your celebration be sweet and delicious and perhaps contain some singing. Might I suggest a string quartet? This new thing is worth celebrating. May the joy that buoys you today carry you through the difficult spots to come and blessed are you closing the door on something you once loved. A home, a dream, a business, a marriage. You who fought and pleaded, tried and prayed. When the weight of the world rests on your shoulders and you feel as though you may drown under paperwork, you who sit in grief and despair and maybe a little fearful for what happens now. May you find comfort from places and people you don’t anticipate that remind you that you are not alone. And dear one, you may be saying goodbye to something, someone dear, but something new will be born. I can’t promise it will replace what was there, and I won’t try to tell you that it will always be better. But I do believe that we can find beauty and meaning and truth right here where we stand in our transitions, in our hellos and goodbyes and yes, even on the other side.
Kate: Don’t miss an episode. Be sure to subscribe to Everything Happens wherever you listen to podcasts and I would love to hear from you find me online at Katecbowler or at katebowler.com. Today’s episode was made possible by our partners, Lilly Endowment, the Duke Endowment and Duke Divinity School, who support our faith and media project. We are so grateful for their generosity and investment in what we do. And of course, my perfect team, Jessica Richie, our executive producer, Harriet Putman, our associate producer, Keith Weston, our sound designer, and the rest of the Everything Happens crew who make this project so much fun. Dan Wells, AJ Walton, Mary Jo Clancy, J.J. Dickinson, Launa Steward, Kelly Dunlap, Erin Lane, Jeb and Sammi. Thank you. This is Everything Happens with me, Kate Bowler.
One thought on “Weddings, Divorces, and Loves That Carry Us”
Thank you so much for your dialogue of divorce, with Jamie Lee. I left my 20 yr marriage over 11 years ago, and never heard from my church family again.
There actually is a divorce casserole ministry….for the husbands. He and the kids were invited to meals, and his freezer was full of meals.
I didn’t get a phone call. People who had known me for decades, with whom we had raised kids with, never asked why I would have had to make this huge step. I was wiped from existence. He got casseroles and dinner invites. I have yet to be invited in to any church member’s home for a meal.
My younger brother came to court with me, the day I got divorced. It was the bravest thing I have ever done. He was proud of me. We celebrated and I brought a ring. Your podcast has really got me thinking about how this culture needs to change. And to be more intentional with people I know now going through divorce. To take what I have learnt through the bullshit dished out to me, and speak validation and hear and celebrate stories, and sit with their grief.
Thank you Kate and Jamie.