It's Gill With a 'G'
Copyright© 2010 by Texrep
I managed to get a mortgage easily, as I was putting a large deposit down, and I had history with this Building Society, They had held the mortgage on the property in Upminster. With my solicitor dealing with the legalities and under pressure to ensure we could benefit from the promised five thousand pound reduction in price, we took the next step. We went to see the Vicar at St Peter's. Gill's mum looked after Anita for us whilst we were there. This was the church we had married in. The Vicar, Peter Mounsell, was new, quite a young man, but as the church frowned on divorce, he was unhappy, until Gill explained that this was a remarriage.
"We married here fourteen years ago. I broke my vows and we got divorced. Now we want to marry again." He cheered up tremendously.
"I can see no problem with that. If you were marrying someone other than your previous partner, I wouldn't do it. But in this case we are just putting right the mistake of the State." The ceremony was arranged for four weeks time. The Banns had to be read for three consecutive Sundays. He asked Gill if she would like to come and see him for counselling.
"I have lived with my guilt for eight years, eight punishing years and so has my husband. He came back to find me, and I believe that God led his steps. The only thing I want is to make my vows to my husband again, in front of God, knowing that I will keep them this time." He asked some more questions, gently teasing out of us the story of the past. Nodding as he understood the pressures and the love that had brought us to this present state. He asked if we would like the modern service. Gill was quick to answer.
"No, I would like the King James service, in full using the word 'obey'." Peter turned to me.
"Are you happy with that?"
"I am perfectly happy with that. Gill is the one with faith, I am not. Does that give you a problem?"
"Oh no I imagine that most marriages in Church these days are between couples neither of whom have faith nor regular church-goers. We welcome everyone, and hope that one day they will discover the truth."
We left the Vicarage. Gill suddenly stopped.
"We must go and see your parents." I didn't think that was such a good idea. Last night my mother was still bitter. I suggested that we leave it for a while.
"How long will that be Andy? We have arranged to get married again in four weeks. Your mum won't thank you for springing that on her at the last minute. We have to go. If she wants to shout at me so be it. I deserve it. We have to introduce her to her granddaughter." She smiled sneakily. "That may soften her anger a little."
Gill was right. When we walked in, Anita was being her normal exuberant self. Dad welcomed Gill with a hug.
"God, Girl! I have been so impatient to see you again." Mum was a little cool, but when we introduced Anita, her doubts vanished. She understood the moment she saw her, that Anita was indeed her granddaughter. After hugging Anita, she stood and hesitantly looked towards Gill, and then she opened her arms and Gill just rushed into them. Tears were in abundance with the emotional greeting. Dad looked at me and made that universal gesture of jerking his head upwards, perplexed that women always have to cry at times like this.
Mum and Gill went to dry their eyes, and of course set about making a pot of tea. Dad was talking with Anita, who announced brightly.
"We are getting married. Mummy and daddy went to see the man at the church." Dad raised his eyes with a question.
"I expect that Gill is telling mum now, so the answer is yes. We are getting married again."
"Good when?" I told him the date and time.
"You and mum will be there, wont you?"
"Of course and don't worry about your mother. She will be fine now. She has a granddaughter, her first, and she will be too busy going out and buying things for Anita to worry about anything else." Anita had heard the last thing dad said, and immediately began to tell us what she thought she should have. All of her list was toys of course.
Knowing Gill's financial situation, I wanted to help with her bridal gown. After gnawing at the problem, as I didn't want to offend Gill, I hit on the perfect plan. I gave the money to her mum instead. She promised that Gill would never know.
Four weeks later I stood at the steps leading to the Choir stalls chatting with The Reverend Peter, waiting for Gill. I had booked the organist and the choir, as we would be too few in numbers to make much of a voice with the hymns, which meant that we had the service in the main Church, not the side Chapel. The organist had been playing quiet music to help the tension of waiting. Suddenly the music stopped. Peter addressed the congregation.
"We shall sing one of Gill's favourite hymns, 'All things bright and Beautiful'. Then after a moment the organist played the first part of the refrain and we began to sing the lovely hymn, as Gill, holding Anita's hand came slowly towards the front. They walked alone. I turned. She was dressed in a smart suit in celadon green Shantung, a tight skirt demurely ending just below her knees, the jacket buttoned to the throat. Upon her head sat a small hat with a half-veil reaching down to her eyes. She carried a spray of Freesias her favourite flower. Anita was also in celadon, a pretty ruffled dress, white long socks and green shoes. Gill was serious, Anita had a huge smile. Gill arrived next to me, handed the spray to Anita and ushered her round to stand just in front of us. Then with a smile to me, Gill linked her hand through my arm. As the last line finished, there was quiet whilst everyone sat down. I reached down and touched Anita's shoulder. When she looked at me I just put one finger to my lips indicating that she should be quiet. She nodded and smiled.
Peter Mounsell was standing on the step and asked Gill quietly if she was alright. Gill smiled happily. He cleared his throat, and then spoke to the families and friends.
"Before I start the service of marriage, I just felt the need for a few words. I am a priest after all, and you know how we take every opportunity to give a sermon." There was light laughter. "When Andrew..." A little voice piped up.
"It's Andy." Peter smiled at Anita.
"Yes of course, Anita. You are so right to correct me. When Andy and Gill came to see me and asked to be re-married. I was pleased. I was even more delighted when I heard their story, because at its core there is a story of love. Our Lord teaches us that love is the most important emotion in this world, and that loving each other, loving your neighbours is His Way. Gill and Andy have that love for each other. That they could overcome adversity and still love speaks volumes. There is something else there as well. Andy maintains that he is not a believer, yet his actions of loving Gill, and forgiving speak of a charity that most men could not envisage. He may not be a believer, but he has more Christian attitude than many who come to this church every Sunday and call themselves Christians. It is as our Lord has said. By thine actions ye shall be known. Whatever Andy says about his belief, our Lord knows his actions, and he will treat Andy accordingly." He looked at me and winked. "So there, Andy, it doesn't matter what you think. God will decide." He gave everybody a chance to think. Then he began. He lifted his head and spoke those rolling cadences first spoken four hundred years ago, which have resounded from the rafters and stone walls of Anglican churches millions of times.