I watched The Sound of Music today for what is probably the millionth time in my life.
And I was struck by the way the film approaches marriage: as a vocation.
If you haven't seen the movie, go watch it. Don't worry, it's safe, your kids can see it too. Then come back and read the rest of this.
Maria begins the movie believing she has a vocation to the religious life. In a way she assumes it is her vocation, the way most people expect to find themselves married one day.
But it turns out her calling is not what she expects, and it scares her a little. Well, it scares her a lot, actually, and she tries to run away from it, before her very wise mother superior tells her she must embrace it, if it is God's will.
Instead of taking vows as a nun, she takes marriage vows.
The film treats both marriage and the religious life as vocations of equal value.
It is pretty much assumed that we will all get married, eventually. Many people expect that a person who discovers she has a vocation to the religious life will struggle with this, in part because it is so unconventional, even though there are people in the priesthood and religious life who have had no dramatic struggles with their callings.
But it is rare in life, or in Art to see a person struggling with the choice of marriage, as opposed to religious life, especially from a perspective that views both as profound ways of dedicating oneself to God.
I think it is worthwhile for us to see this. Marriage has become so "normal" to most of us, we rarely give it a second thought.
We should think about it. Marriage is every bit as serious a thing as entering a convent. Or becoming a priest. It involves taking vows before God, to dedicate oneself to the life He has chosen, embracing the joys and also the sacrifices involved in one's vocation.
That's a pretty big deal any way you look at it.