Sunday, November 22, 2015

Led to Each Other

On Saturday I officiated Sam and Matt’s wedding ceremony at the Stonebridge Ranch Country Club, McKinney, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Albert Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it.

The conductor said, "Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it."

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, "Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one."

Einstein looked at him and said, "Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going."
Now, it would be difficult to contend that Sam and Matt don't where they are going. You don't get to be the executive chef of ten plus restaurants, if you don't. And, most of us would find it easier to be the executive chef of ten plus restaurants, than teach school kids. Beyond their professional lives, just interact with Sam and Matt for a minute or two, and you know you are dealing with folks you can count on. (I would have said folks who are serious, but that definition does not really apply to one of them. Hint: The word serious only applies to the one that ACTS older.) Humor aside, Sam and Matt, clearly tend to know not only where they are going, but how they will get there.

That is why I find the origin story of their relationship so intriguing and edifying. That night, a few years ago, when the chef, Matt, needed some help from the most competent servers, of course, he chose Sam as one of them. The next part was not part of the plan, but as Sam says, "Throughout the evening, I could not help but notice that he and I seemed to have a connection that I couldn't really place or describe. I just felt drawn to him." And Matt agrees, when he says, "During our down time at our function, the group of us were talking and my answers and Sam answers seemed to match. We both felt a click, spark, match, or cosmic intervention that night." Sam says emphatically, "I do not fully believe that I chose Matt, or he chose me...I believe that we were led to each other."

As time progressed and this encounter blossomed into a full-fledged love story, what both Sam and Matt found, is what many of us discover, when we find that special someone. You are finally able to admit to yourself, that in that area of your life, love, you weren't really sure where you were going. Consequently, you did not really fully know yourself. As that spark of a relationship develops into a carefully tended flame, you uncover where you are truly going, because being with your partner uncovers new directions to go. You discover new aspects of yourself that you did not know existed, and everything just seems to fall into place. THAT is the inherent gift of true love. THAT, my friends, is what Sam and Matt have with each other. THAT is why they stand here today.

Monday, November 16, 2015

I Choose to Love

Saturday, I co-officiated Jamie and Christian’s wedding ceremony at Alamo Heights UMC, in San Antonio, Texas, with Reverend David McNitzky. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Being a man of few words, here is how Christian describes a full two month span of the birth of his relationship with Jamie: “Her beauty made it difficult for me to act normal and formulate complete sentences at times but nevertheless we quickly formed a close relationship and started dating within a couple months of meeting ... “Of course, that irresistibility was and is to this day mutual. Jamie says that then and to this very day, “his eyes make me melt.”

Their personalities really mesh well together. There is something to the idea of opposites attracting, but way more to the idea of each of us needing someone to complement our essential qualities. Indeed, Jamie says, “My close friends always tell me that Christian is perfect for me. I need a chill, laid back guy, that lets me be me, and keeps me grounded and calm.” And, Christian, not surprisingly says that what he most loves about Jamie is not just that, “She is smart, funny, caring, and a loving person,” but also that, “One of her strongest qualities is the ability to fight and stand up for what she wants and believes in...”

Of course, not surprisingly, but also not to be taken for granted, is how much parenting their daughter has brought her mom and dad even closer. As Jamie and Christian put it, “We are not your typical soon to be newlyweds ... We have been through ... trials and tests, not only as a couple, but also as a family unit already ...”

What this love story, which we celebrate today, really has going for it is that both Jamie and Christian recognize what rock solid couples recognize: Love stories in real life, take work. They each not only recognize that, but mutually admire and appreciate that recognition in the other. They each day to say each other, not only in their own words, which I quote, but especially in their actions, “I choose to love you every day. I choose to put our family as my priority. I choose this great life we have built together.”

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Why Not Indeed…

On Saturday I officiated Allie and Kyan’s wedding ceremony at the Rockin Y Ranch in Austin, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:
I ask every couple to write about how they met. I get a variety of answers. Some people meet through work, some meet through friends, many meet online. Allie and Kyan met in line. Now, with Kyan’s background at Blizzard, you might think I just said online. No, no. They met in line, and yes, Arkansans, they met at Walmart. Now, when they met, Allie was still studying in medical school. In Poland, of course. (Like you do…) So, it took a little while to shift the relationship into high gear. Still once she was back in Austin, they were pretty soon inseparable.

Here is what happened next, in Allie’s words: “We knew that I probably wouldn’t stay in Austin for residency and would have to move away for at least 3 years. We sat down and talked about our options, Kyan told me that he wanted to be together even if that meant quitting his job and moving.” Now, guys, remember, Kyan was not working at a law firm or a bank. This guy’s work was at a company, nay, THE company that makes video games! Now many guys having left a job at a video game company to support their future spouse would rest on his laurels, justifiably just wondering where he should put that fiancĂ© of the year award on the mantle. Not Kyan. Allie continues, “Having Kyan with me is easily the best part of this place. He brings me out of my slumps and makes me realize how lucky I am. Everything is more fun and exciting with him around so when he proposed I had no hesitation. I know we want the same things in life and if he can make Pine Bluff tolerable, I know that whatever else we do together will be an amazing adventure and a ton of fun.” I suspect the head of the Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce was not on the guest list tonight…

Now, the cool thing about Allie and Kyan’s relationship is that it exemplifies how each of us should think about and treat our lovers. Why do I say that? Well, because each of them seems to see the other as the one who not only do they love, but who made them and their life better. Can you ask for more?

Listen to how Kyan expresses this: “I guess I knew Allie was the one because she was the first woman I let in… I never thought it was worth taking a shot, until I met Allie.  I never saw myself settling down because of this…  I always wanted to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. If that meant not doing dishes for a week or going to the movies to watch the same movie three times, then that’s what it meant.  However after getting to know Allie and really enjoying our time together I began to realize that life does not move at my pace. She showed me that when more than one person is involved life tends to speed up and is much fuller.  I decided to get off the slow train and run and catch hers. It was worth the run. She makes me want to be a better man and she has made me so much better already. With Allie I see a partner, a teammate, and my best friend.  Why not spend the rest of my life with such an amazing person?”

Why not, why not indeed…