Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Feeling of Safety and Peace

On Saturday 7/20, I co-officiated Bethany and Justin's wedding with Bethany's close friend, Pastor Crystal Alexander at Ashton Gardens in Corinth, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with everyone:

Bethany tells the coolest story about  a pivotal time she saw Justin. I could paraphrase it, but she tells it so well, so here it is in her own words:

"On the day of the police test I can only remember just how terrified I was. This was what I had been working so hard for, and I was about to find out if I would be an officer or not. At that time I looked up to see Justin Todd walking in the door. At that moment I forgot what I had come to test for. All I could see was Justin and his smile."


Now one of the reasons I love this is that this couple's story is NOT one of those phony "love at first sight" stories. First, because this was bot their first interaction, and second, because those can only go skin deep, and these cops are way too serious for that.

This was just the beginning. Jason picks up the story with lunch after the exam:

"We discovered we had many of the same interests and ideas, and were looking for the same things in a partner. From that day forward we have been together. Our relationship has grown from a friendship, through dating to now being engaged."

What is their secret though? Bethany shares a sentiment that if you know this couple, you know is mutual:

"No one else on this earth has the power to calm my nerves and to make me feel safe like he does."

What is she telling us here? That like any really solid loving relationship, the common ideas and values are all critical yet the core is the feeling of safety and peace that these two peace officers bring to each other. It is that ineffable emotion that is the real glue that holds us together with our lovers. It is that glue that I am confident will hold you, Bethany and Justin together from this day forward.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Apples and Trees

On Friday 7/12, Pastor Doris Harris and I co-officiated Megan and Cedric's wedding at Noah's in Irving, Texas. Here are the personal remarks I shared with them:

I wrote these remarks walking the streets of downtown Chicago. I ask each person I marry to write a short autobiographical essay, and was rereading Megan and Cedric's essays at the foot of the old Sears Tower. I was thinking about how intrigued we are by such mammoth constructions. We are especially intrigued by climbing to the top, and looking down upon the world, gaining a greater perspective of our physical surroundings. If only we had a similar vehicle to gain greater perspective upon our lives, our personalities, our mark on the world.

Oh, wait there is such a vehicle; our children...

One of the things you learn pretty quickly as an educator working with children is that usually the apple does indeed NOT far from the tree. So much so that you can, with few exceptions, predict how your interaction with the tree will go.

That is why I love it when I get to meet couples' children during the process of working on their ceremony. You see, I got to read their essays, and I found, like others who know them, a kind, happy, driven couple, who are full of integrity and mutual love, but those were still just words. In meeting their daughter, talking to her, and interacting with this small family I got the bird's eye view, the true perspective that backed up those words. You could see the true great character of this couple shining through. The apple showed you everything you needed to know.

Megan and Cedric, may you continue to share this same love that shines through your daughter today, and enjoy the fruit of your labors from now and forever more.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Passion for Learning

I hadn't officiated a wedding at the Dallas World Aquarium for about 25 hours, so I returned last night to officiate Jessica and Ramin's wedding. In my personal remarks, I always talk about what I learned from the couple, and that is where I began this time too.

I think it is actually in this very area of the importance of learning in the here and now and from each other, that Jessica and Ramin teach us an important lesson.

Jessica and Ramin come from two of the most ancient cultures in the world. Persian and Jewish history goes so far back that it makes the German town that Jessica's current last name invokes look downright new, being founded in 766.

There is great pride in coming from such ancient cultures. However, there is a hazard there too. It is very tempting for members of such rich cultures to sit back on their laurels, and believe that the past is all that matters, and that new knowledge and learning is not only unnecessary, but to be discouraged.

Jessica and Ramin are fine examples of taking the opposite approach. They have each thought deeply about their respective heritages, embraced what was meaningful to them, and continued to learn. They have each strived and continue to strive to know and discover more about the world and about themselves.

Most importantly, they have not just seen each other as lovers, but as fellow learners too. Perhaps one of the only things they might passionately disagree on in this area is who benefitted more from whom. Jessica will tell you that she learned so much more from Ramin, and Ramin will tell you how much more he learned from Jessica. They each will tell you how much more the other inspires them to better themselves each and every day.

Jessica and Ramin, continue on this path of passion for learning, and continue to inspire each other. Through may you find not just 11 years of happiness you have had do far, but seven fold more years to come.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Communication, Mutual Help and Acceptance

Last night, Friday 7/5, Pastor Frank Lane and I co-officiated Ilisa and Landon's wedding at the Dallas World Aquarium. (Right in front of a big fish tank!) here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

In describing the flowering and development of their relationship, Ilisa and Landon touch upon some simple and important attributes that we all know of, but that this couple was astute enough to actually do.

Communication: From John Gray's Mars and Venus through Dave Barry's comedy, we all know the challenges of communication between men and women. You need to be conscious of this, and resolve to overcome these difficulties. And so, Ilisa and Landon told me that, "From the beginning both of us were very straightforward about what our expectations were..."

Helping each other become better: An ideal marriage is one where simple mathematics are defied. We do not just perform a simple operation of 1+1= 2. Rather, we help each other, and ourselves become better, and so 1+1 equals more. As Landon tells us, "I like who I am when I am with her. It’s a much more mature relationship. Who she is builds me up..."

Acceptance: Now one might think if we can communicate well, and we make each other and ourselves better through a mature marriage, well, all problems are solved, and we are all set. If only. We remain human, our marriages are created by humans, even in the best of circumstances take on our fallibilities. As Ilisa and Landon tell us, marriage is not about imagining a perfect partner or perfect marriage. Rather, it is about my partner, but also me, "Accepting all the bad and good things about me..."

Ilisa and Landon, these astute observations are not a given with every couple, as they are with you. Hold on to that, and through communication, mutual help and acceptance, may you find happiness for many years to come.