Working on a wedding

Bird Droppings August 17, 2010
Working on a wedding

Nearly two years ago I performed a wedding service for one of my sons close friends. As I was pulling together material for a short sermon and discussion I found several pieces from many years ago. As I thought this morning and walked out just before heading to school perhaps today was a good day to share with others some of those thoughts as I am preparing for another wedding my youngest sons.
I first met my son’s friend when he was in elementary school as he and my son became friends. All through the school years and various projects, field trips, movies and band there was a group of fellows who came to know each other very well. I am impressed as they have graduated from high school and now college and still all are dear and close friends. I by chance had some old videos on my laptop I told my sons friend fiancée I would save for her and I am assuming she was not embarrassed by his antics since they did go through with the wedding.
I had the privilege of meeting his fiancée a few months after being called and asked if I could perform their service. I was impressed by the commitment and care these two had for each other. One thing she mentioned that drew her to him was his humor. She said that whenever he is around people those people seem happier. I sensed a growing a powerful love as I talked with the two of them over several meetings. Friendship and love are critical elements for a marriage to succeed. She offered how they were best friends before they fell in love. As I listened to her express how she feels about him I came to know her in our brief meetings. Never once was she not smiling or offering bits and pieces of how their love has grown over the years.
As I looked for thoughts to share at this very special occasion one that has been important to me for some time to me from a newspaper columnist back in the day as my youngest son would say. Funny how recently my wife made comments similar watching my youngest son and his fiancée as the talked and laughed.

“Love, for example, is difficult to sustain not because it is a positive emotion, but because it is a complex one. Love might be compared to the building of a tall and elaborate sandcastle, taking many hours of painstaking effort, cooperation, balance, and persistence” Strictly Personal Columns of Sydney J. Harris

As I listened to them I could see their sandcastle being built each minute detail and built with a strength that can withstand any circumstance to come their way. I would like to share with them a poem from a poet I am always moved by and recommend nearly every day.

To love and not to possess
by James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess
To know or imprison
Nor to lose ones self in another
It is to join and separate
To walk alone and together
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence
It is perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in termagant commitment
To another – and to one’s self
Love dies when private lives are smothered
When solitude and privacy
Are not allowed
In a sacred union that links two together
For life and perhaps forever
Without binding wings or cleaving lips

Love only endures when it moves like waves
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moons own predictable harmony
Because finally despite a child’s scars
Or an adults deepest wounds
They are openly free to be
Who they really are – and always secretly were
In the core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide

As I thought about the place where the service will be held, an ancient oak tree near the beach in the pan handle of Florida I was inspired. I was intrigued by its history. Within this special location I would say and considerate a sacred place. So many families and traditions, love, faith, prayers, hopes and lives have drifted through all collected there. That is how I interpret sacred. Marriage is a sacred trust a promise and commitment of two people before their friends and families. What has been special to these two people is now being expressed openly for all to see. A marriage is a time to share with family and friends their love a chance to reveal their care and concern that they have for each other.
Thinking back to my son friends they had asked me to view a video that meant a lot to them. “When Harry met Sally” I think I was supposed to have a hoagie and ice cream when I watched it as they recalled their first time seeing the movie. There is a line or two of significance to them that is how they found each other and fell in love.

I love that you get cold when it is 71 degrees outside
I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich
I love that little crinkle above your nose when you are looking at me like I am nuts
I love after I spend the day with you I can smell your perfume on my clothes
And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night
And it is not because I am lonely and its is not because it is New Years Eve
I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible

As I thought about a statement of purpose, I realized that there is a moving beyond a promise greater than just friendship to a sacred trust a vow of marriage, a life long bond between two people before their families and friends. For me the circle holds a special place it that it is finite yet infinite. All through mans history the circle has been revered and considered an integral aspect of life. We are born and live our lives and die and return to the ground in what many call the circle of life. Theologians and holy men and women allude to a continuation around the circle a never ending cycle. Does a circle have a beginning and or an end? Many of the philosophies of life use comparisons to circles as a visual tool to simplify what is being said. Native American truth is often found centered and focused on a circle. Black Elk an Oglala Sioux Holy Man nearly seventy years ago said this

“You have noticed that everything as Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round….. The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours…. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.”

It is strange how we respond as we consider all events all happenings and see that truly life is a circle a simple circle. No beginning and no end as we journey thorough it. We get to participate along the way interconnecting with and meeting other people. We gain understanding and wisdom as we travel this circle and for some, most I would say the transitional points are painful and yet for others wondrous moments and new understanding and illumination to their journeys. Soon my son and his fiancée will continue their journey and with the exchange of their rings seal their promises to each other.
As I thought about world issues and all the drama existing in our time I kept being drawn back to two human beings who are deeply in love and ready to commit to each other and their families and I can see how we are in a circle of life. There is trauma and horrendous happenings around the world but there are also places where there is peace. There are places and corners where love and community abound. I mentioned in a post for a graduate class that I wish this were contagious and could spread. It takes effort as Sydney J. Harris states so eloquently and is worth repeating.

“Love, for example, is difficult to sustain not because it is a positive emotion, but because it is a complex one. Love might be compared to the building of a tall and elaborate sandcastle, taking many hours of painstaking effort, cooperation, balance, and persistence”

So for today as I do everyday please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your heart.