Thursday, February 28, 2013

There Would Still Be You and Me

Efi and Mike are a special couple. They have been legally married for six years, and decided to go down to Costa Rica with a few friends and family to have the religious celebration they did not have six years ago. Here are the remarks I shared with them:

So, at a wedding in Costa Rica, with a bride and groom from Canada, family here from Israel and a rabbi from Texas, why not read a song from an English rock band, right? Seriously, though, here is something deep from Led Zeppelin:

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you
When mountains crumble to the sea, there would still be you and me

Kind woman, I give you my all, kind woman, nothing more
Little drops of rain whisper of the pain, tears of loves lost in the days gone by
Our love is strong, with you there is no wrong, together we shall go until we die.
Inspiration's what you are to me, inspiration, look... see.
And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles
Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one.
Happiness, no more be sad, happiness... I'm glad.

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you. If the mountains should crumble to the sea, there would still be you and me.

What does that mean in this context, of celebrating your love, Efi and Mike? Unlike the average couple I officiate for, you have been already on a six year long marital journey together. It is easy to see that you have a strong bond of marital love. You have been living a life of telling each other implicitly every day for a long time now, “For you to me are the only one.” As your loved ones here can attest to, your connection, your bond, your marriage is as fresh as it was six years ago, and it grows sturdier every day. In your life you indeed proved that a chance encounter in the Promised Land can lead to a marital life full of promise. And so today, you proclaim to the world, “Our love is strong.”

So, as you place a ring now on Efi’s finger, Mike, and recite the ancient formula in Hebrew, say to her in essence, once more ,“Kind woman, I give you my all, kind woman, nothing more,” and you, Efi, in accepting it, say to Mike, in essence, once more, “Today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles.” And say to each other from now and forever, “If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you. If the mountains should crumble to the sea, there would still be you and me.”

Monday, February 18, 2013

Truly Come Alive

This last weekend my good friend, Father Milt Raybould, and I officiated Erika and Roman’s wedding at Chateau Cocomar in Houston, Texas. Here are the personal remarks I shared with them and their guests:

It's interesting; some couples can't remember when or how they met, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, there are couples, whose first meeting proves, that while love at first sight might be more Hollywood than reality, love at first meeting can be very real. Erika and Roman are one of those special couples.

It seems like Erika had a premonition that that night was to be pivotal in her life. "I was nervous. I was excited," she says, "I was stepping outside my standard expectations and just allowing myself to be, well, myself."

There was definitely magic in the air. Roman writes, "She was beautiful, smart, inspiring, fun, open, (OK, we know that already, but listen to the rest...) and we seemed to share topic after topic and interest after interest in an experience I never imagined possible before that fateful evening. Our conversations wandered from life, to travel, to photography, to history, to music and all around. It was the most comfortable, simple, honest and fulfilling conversation I ever experienced."

But how do you really know that that love at first meeting is true love? Is that not the question that countless people have asked? Is this not the question pondered by poets, and pored upon by authors of prose? It is difficult to answer, and some might say that you just know it when you see it, but I think that Erika and Roman do offer us an answer. You might have picked up on it in what I read of their words already, but allow me to clarify.

You see, in almost all areas in life, if we realize it or not, we have to put up some type of facade. This is natural, normal, and allows us to function in and as a society. True love means, however, that with that person, we can take down those facades, and truly, deeply be ourselves. This is what Erika and Roman have.

As Roman says, "With her, I feel and appreciate life in a different way. After years of growing accustomed to never being able to truly be myself with anyone, never being able to truly be understood, never being able to truly be as silly as I would like to be sometimes – I can do it all with Erika."

Letting down these facades, allowing oneself to not only love, but also be loved is so vital. In a sense when we have that in our lives, we can truly come alive with that person. This is what an ideal marriage is really all about. As Erika says, "To me, marriage is a covenant, a bond that protects and nurtures two people, who love one another... willing to lay down their guards, to show their scars and to uplift each other in times of weakness and in times of joy."

Erika and Roman, we all pray that you continue to enjoy such a wonderful love, one that enables you to be your true selves, and fully come alive. Through this, may you experience nothing but true mutual, unmitigated and boundless happiness.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Adventure in the Here and Now

Yesterday evening Deacon Sam Dell'Olio and I officiated the wedding of Stephanie and Dan at Agave Road in Katy, Texas. Here are the personal remarks I shared with these two rocket scientists (seriously!) and their guests.

So, when a couple first calls me to ask if I might be able to officiate their wedding, I always ask them to first tell me about themselves. Stephanie's initial answer was short and to the point, "I run the International Space Station, and Dan trains astronauts to go up to it." Wow. Many more of us today than in the past, are lucky to work in jobs we enjoy and find fulfillment in, but this sounded above and beyond.

Now, beyond the fact that these two are scary smart rocket scientists, how did they pull this off? How did they get to where they are in life? Well, I detect in Stephanie and Dan something that all of us should cultivate: an uncompromising passion to follow their dreams, and a belief that those dreams could come true.

Stephanie and Dan separately each had the drive to pursue a vocation that few of us could imagine. They each resolved to follow that dream, and follow it they did.

Now, this dream come true led to them meeting. And when they barely started going out, a friend remarked to Stephanie that she, Stephanie, would marry Dan one day. Stephanie said, "You never know..." Smash cut to today, Stephanie and Dan are together fulfilling another dream.

I think that many of us have the potential to fulfill our dreams in our professional and personal lives. All too often we put them off for a later time. At that undefined amorphous time, we will go on great adventures, and our dreams will come true.

The valuable lesson that Stephanie and Dan teach us is that it need not be that way. THIS can be IT. The adventure can be the here and now, if we just allow ourselves to follow our dreams.