Tuesday, May 28, 2013

See and Cherish the Miraculous

On Sunday (5/26) I officiated Kailee and Landon's wedding at Arlington Hall at Lee Park in Dallas, Texas. Here are the personal remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I recently heard the great character actor, Stephen Tobolowsky, vividly describe the meaning of a fascinating passage in the Zohar, a medieval book of Jewish mysticism, and it made me think of Kailee and Landon.

The Book of Ezekiel gives a fairly mundane description of an instance where the prophet, "Saw what he saw, and said what he said." The Zohar says that this seemingly mundane sentence actually describes our lives. You see, that is all we ever do. We impose limits upon ourselves that hamper our sight. We erect filters that prevent us from seeing what is right in front of us. These limits and filters mean that we only see what we choose to see. And so, though we are surrounded by miracles, we just can't see them. The challenge therefore is to remove those filters and dismantle those limits, so we can see life for what it truly is.

Here is where Kailee and Landon's relationship is instructive. In their love story, from its beginning, they have seemed capable to truly see without limits and filters. This is how Kailee is able to say that from a very early point in their lives together, "Marriage has never been a question of why but rather when." This is how Landon is able to say, and this is not the kind of verbiage you hear from the typical guy, "There have been moments in which I have seen glimpses of what Kailee can be as a wife and even as a mother." This is how they are together eight years and counting.

Kailee and Landon, do not let the filters of the ordinary cloud your vision. Nurture your ability to see without limits. And in your lives together always choose to see and cherish the miraculous.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Greatest Work of Art

Yesterday, Saturday 5/25, I officiated Maggie and Spencer's wedding at the beautiful Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas. Here are the personal remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I don’t know about you, but stand I in awe of people like Maggie and Spencer, who are so deeply into art. I have officiated almost 190 weddings in the last six years, but never have I encountered a couple that designed and made their beautiful Ketubah together. How lucky these two, Maggie and Spencer, are to have this additional aspect to their relationship, one that so few people get to experience, the ability to create art together.

Why do I say that these two are so lucky? Well, I remember an experience I had in a different art museum here in town, the Biblical Art Museum. My friend, the Co-Curator, Scott Peck, was giving me a guided tour during my first visit, and we came upon a few small pieces of art created by the famous Israeli artist, Ya’akov Agam. I noticed immediately that with Agam’s pieces, and I am sure there is a much more learned way of saying this, every piece looks totally different, depending on where you stood.

So, when I sat down to write the remarks for Maggie and Spencer’s wedding, it hit me. Agam’s method is really emblematic of the greatness of art, in general. It is art that enables us to see things from multiple different perspectives. Now, being able, on your own, to see things from multiple perspectives is highly valuable. Being able to see things, as a couple, from multiple perspectives, is not just valuable; it is critical. It is this ability that allows two different people from two different families to come together as one, and form a new family together. As one half of this new entity, you must be able to view things not just from your perspective, but from your partner’s perspective too. That is why Maggie and Spencer, with their refined ability as artists, particularly artists who have created art together, are so lucky.

Maggie and Spencer, hold on to this great gift you have. Remember that love is more art than science, and together, may you continue to mold the greatest work of art any of us can create with a partner, a happy and beautiful marriage.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

True and Meaningful Purpose

Yesterday, Saturday 5/11, I officiated Erin and Dan's wedding at the Rookery in Chicago, Illinois. Here are the personal remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Erin and Dan are a fascinating couple. They relish in infusing their life with meaning, and purpose. They seek to do this not just the in the grand, but in the minute too. They do this as individuals, but more importantly as a couple, deeply in love. In the latter they realize that sometimes there is no hidden purpose or meaning beyond the greatness of the moment, the wonder of the here and now, in their loving togetherness.

Dan describes the moments Erin and he enjoy the most, together and with friends and family. (Guys, listen up; this may be worth imitating with our significant others.)

"I’m sure I make her happy by whipping up a meal effortlessly for her, but it is in the growth with our friends and family where we believe cooking and hosting can give pleasure to our lives. I get to work with my hands and I’ll cook for hours on end while just a few feet away Erin opens bottles of wine and chats with our guests. The purpose of life can’t be any more complicated than that."

Erin and Dan, I think you have stumbled upon one of the great secrets to a happy and joyous marriage. As humans there are evolutionary reasons we search for meaning and purpose. All too often, however, we seek these in the grand, and we neglect the minute and delicate. Marriage, however, is usually more about the minute and delicate, the here and now. You remind us that in creating a joyous here and now, in not allowing the grand to block out the minute, and in relishing in the small pleasures we experience as couples, we can find and create true and meaningful purpose, in love together.

Monday, May 6, 2013

More Than Just a Romantic Connection

Yesterday, Sunday 5/5, I officiated Nicole and Ronnie's wedding at Ronnie's parents' home in Lubbock, Texas. Here are the personal remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I was thinking about the deep love Nicole and Ronnie have, and I could not help but think of the very first love story at the beginning of the Hebrew Scriptures.

The ancient authors of the Bible were as fascinated, as many of us still are, with the idea of love and marriage. How can two people, each distinct, each different, come together as one in a lasting union?

They embedded an explanation in the often misunderstood second creation story. You may have heard how God put Adam (the man) to sleep, and took his... rib, right? Then he built it up to be the woman. There is only one problem. That is not what it says. Not at all.

The text actually says that God created them, and called THEM Adam. The ancient rabbis explain that this was an androgynous being with two sides. Then he put this being to sleep, and took one side off, essentially separating the two sides, one being man and one being woman.

What are the rabbis and in turn the biblical authors saying here? What they are telling us is that in true love with a marital partner, we are not forming an artificial construct, bringing two separate beings together. It is as if we are returning to our original primordial state. We feel so at one with the person we love, that is as if we are reuniting with someone that was always part of us. Does that not sound like Nicole and Ronnie?

The beauty of Nicole and Ronnie's relationship is that it clarifies that finding that other half is not about looking for someone with the same superficial characteristics and background. Not at all. It is about finding the person who is your other half in terms of their values, their character, and their personal qualities. It is about finding the person, who in Nicole's words, is "more than just a romantic connection or a comfortable companion," the person who makes her feel "supported, encouraged, celebrated and loved." It is about finding the person who is in Ronnie's words, "the kindest and most supportive person (he) know(s)."

Nicole and Ronnie, may you continue to enjoy such a deep friendship, abiding love, and true partnership for many many years to come.