Learning to Celebrate Love

Bringing a circle of support around two people is beautiful. My favorite weddings combine celebration, tradition, and personality, with the rituals chosen on purpose, a specific and unique start to their new adventure together.

Last year we went to the wedding of my dear friend, Christine. The small congregation of close friends and family spontaneously sang her down the aisle of the small chapel. The scene was gorgeous on a beautiful island off of Seattle. It propelled me to live like we have 100 Junes.


Also last year, my youngest brother got married at the top of a mountain in Colorado. It’s where he, his wife, and their clan feel their center, find their place in the world.

A few years ago, I had the honor to read to the grooms at my uncle Kerry’s wedding.

Sidebar: My Uncle Kerry is roughly two months older than me. We met in our early teen years when his sister married my dad. We hit it off immediately, to become forever good friends. Since the situation was, especially at the time, kind of ridiculous that he was my uncle, the title sticks whenever I speak of him.  Now he is “Uncle Kerry” not only to me but also my friends and my husband, who is, in fact, older than him.  We were a modern family before being a modern family was cool.

Anyway, in preparing a personal reading for his wedding, two main themes came rushing into my mind. The first was, we have to learn to love.

I love this pic of Dan, Marcus, and Kerry!

Love is Taught

The beautiful song, “You’ve got to be carefully taught” from South Pacific, speaks of how children are taught to hate, how parents, teachers, and the community teach them at a young age to stay away from, scorn, and fear those who may look different, believe different, are not the way…

“You’ve got to be taught to be afraid of people’s eyes who are oddly made.

And people’s whose skin is a different shade.

You’ve got to be carefully taught.”

This version by Mandy Patinkin is particularly moving…

I was thinking, That’s true. Children are taught to fear, to stay away, and to hate. But what about love? Are people born knowing how to love? No, I don’t think so. We also have to be taught to love. And like anything we learn, we have to both be open to learning and also – and I think this is very important – we have to practice to get good and then get better. This is why we, communally, must keep trying to show, to exemplify, to teach – Love.

There were some people close to the couple who missed the wedding, for a variety of reasons, both practical and personal. Kerry’s mother did not miss the wedding, though there was deep fear (from me, I’m not speaking for anyone else) that she may not choose to celebrate. On the surface, there are those who felt Kerry’s wedding was “against” what her strong Southern Baptist beliefs and upbringing taught. Unless, of course, the underlying belief is in a loving God and an all-knowing God who created each person with a promise of being wonderfully made. Then, it may be believed, that God leaves it to mankind to decide: Does creation begin with love? or hate? and what is left to us, the humans to teach?

I’m getting off track. The point is, love is learned. I wish everyone close to Kerry and Dan could have been at their wedding, it was a celebration of love and faith, and anyone open could have learned more about love that day.

Back to creating the words, my second thought was, like anything worth having, relationships take work.

Love is Work

And then I wondered, why does the concept of work, in love especially, get such a bad rap? So much of work can, and should be, a passion. A joy even.

Why does the concept of work, in love especially, get such a bad rap? Work can, and should be, a passion. A joy even. #LoveBlog2018 Click To Tweet

Good work celebrates both team and individuality, has a purpose, provides challenges, includes wins and sometimes is hard. Hard work gives unique rewards that only hard work can.

Then there’s artwork. People who create art…it’s not easy. Art both comes from and requires struggle, mistakes, thrashing about and feeling a failure – sometimes when creating, an artist has to break the art, and sometimes creating art breaks the artist. It is anything but easy. And yet, in the end, creating art rewards both the artist and the audience with…more. More than all of this.

Love, Friends, is the most rewarding hard-art-work of all. 

I’m still a little weepy thinking of this particular celebration. I adore my dear Kerry. I have worried for him, as I do. I am consistently a gold-medal worrier for those I love.

The world is not yet the accepting planet I wish for him and his husband, but it inches, and they find circles of safety and tables of laughter. I wish I could put them in a bubble and keep them warm, joyful, and safe. Of course, I can’t. I can’t for any of us. Still, they adventure more than anyone I know. They are brave and full of living, and in this, I hope the world pays attention and learns a bit more about love.

Now you know the backstory of this poem(ish) I read at their wedding. It was a joy and an honor.


A life of love is a work of art 

Often beginning from a spark, a muse, perhaps a lightening start 

From there evolves the practice and discipline to grow together 

Then to push the edges, to find no end, to uncover the hidden heart 


A marriage, built upon practicing love, evokes hope and also teaches 

Proof of what humanity can be, the depth of the human heart’s reaches 

A marriage such as this is the highest art of all, in fact – a masterpiece 

A living lesson in what any prophet of love preaches 


My wish for you today, each dear relation and friend:  

Practice your love, find strength in reliance, encourage your hearts to extend 

You see, a masterpiece requires love plus hours, failure, passion, dedication, and vision 

Let your souls be filled with all of this and let your hearts be strengthened

– Ms

Love, Friends, is the most rewarding hard-art-work of all. Let's Celebrate it! #LoveBlog2018 Click To Tweet

I’m going to leave you with another song, a happy one I had at my wedding, cause it’s a great song to bop your head to, smile to, and celebrate…Today.

“These are days” by 10,000 maniacs.

I’m delighted to be participating in Bella Brita’s #LoveBlogChallenge Read what others are saying about Celebration and even join in yourself.

My Take: Love is taught, Love is Work, Love is Art - Let's Celebrate Love! #LoveBlog2018 What are your thoughts? Click To Tweet

How are you celebrating love today?


  1. BTL February 11, 2018 at 3:11 pm - Reply


  2. Charlene Maugeri February 15, 2018 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    The idea that love must be taught is interesting. You do bring up some good points. I often like to believe that love is more of an innate, human, instinct. I think if children were raised with no hate, if nobody taught them to hate or showed them examples of hate, they would innately love everybody. The tricky part though is not showing them any hate. It’s easier said then done. Another aspect though is maybe we do need to teach people how to SHOW love. Even if the actual feeling is innate, people might not know how to show it without being taught. Hmm.

    Anyway, the other point you make about relationships taking work is absolutely true! And I think you’ve put it very elegantly! Your Uncle Kerry and his husband seem like great people and i’m sure the wedding was a wonderful celebration of love!

    • Mardra February 15, 2018 at 7:59 pm - Reply

      Yes, showing love is definitely something that can/should be taught and learned.
      <3 Thank you for the note.

  3. Brita Long February 16, 2018 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful poem! Love is truly a thing to celebrate. I think love as a feeling is innate, and I think it can be easy, depending on the people involved. I completely agree that love as an action must be learned (and thus we need to teach it), and love as an action takes work. I can feel love for my husband all day long, but what if I do nothing to express it to him? Then he can’t feel my love for him.

    • Mardra February 17, 2018 at 12:22 am - Reply

      Thank you and yes – so much to teach AND show about love.

  4. Pat B March 29, 2018 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    A life of love is a work of art. . .what a lovely thought.
    I think each of us does come into this world ready to love and to be loved, but what we all have to learn is how to still love and still be willing be be loved when the disappointments, challenges whether physical or emotional, etc. come into our lives. Is it possible to love if we are not willing to forgive? Is it possible to love and hate at the same time. I don’t think so. We all need each other to learn the important lessons about living and loving. Those lessons are at every bend.

    • Mardra March 31, 2018 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      Yes! These lessons are at every bend. And we have to bend to learn them sometimes, too. Thank you 🙂

  5. Kenya G. Johnson March 29, 2018 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    Wow I love the first video. I had to click over and see what that was for. I know the singer as an actor from the show Criminal Minds, so I was intrigued by his performance and the lyrics. The kind of lyrics and melody that stick.

    A couple of years ago a great friend of my dad’s was getting married to his partner. He and my dad have been friends since I was little. I never knew the guy was gay until I was older. Anyway so he and his partner finally got married once it was legal on paper. Assuming my dad would obviously attend, he also asked him to be the photographer. I remember my dad talking to me about it, saying that he didn’t want to do or go and I told him he had to. Because that guy is pretty much a “best friend”. So when it was all said and done, he said it was beautiful and he couldn’t imagine that he’d ever feel that way after seeing two men get married. He was glad he went.

    • Mardra March 31, 2018 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      The song here is from the musical “South Pacific” in a medley with “Children will listen” from “INto the Woods.”

      Mandy Patinkin! He’s so awesome. He’s great Broadway star, but probably most known for his role in The Princess Bride (“You kill my father…prepare to die.”)

      I’m so glad you helped push your father to go to the wedding, that’s what I’m talking about! Even as adults, once we open our eyes, we can learn. We can!

      Thanks for the notes. 🙂

  6. Kristi Campbell March 29, 2018 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    First, where did your brother get married? I grew up in Colorado (and am here now). I can see why they find their centers there. Second, this is beautiful and important although I’m not sure I agree that love must be taught although I so get what you’re saying. When I think about a mom and child love though, is anything more natural? I almost feel like hate is taught – fear is ingrained. We fear what’s different maybe, but also we don’t know what’s different until we learn what is. Does that make sense?

    • Mardra March 31, 2018 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      North Peak in Keystone. It was beautiful.
      For me and you, maternal love is natural and beautiful. I wish that love was true and present for everyone, and I am saddened each time I discover/realize, it is not…
      I do think hate is taught. Someday, I hope we evolve past fear of difference engrained. I can hope…

  7. Janine Huldie March 30, 2018 at 6:10 am - Reply

    I agree with you and I think teaching love over fear is so very important. As a mom, I am truly hoping I am doing that more than anything else with my own two young daughters. And btw your poem is absolutely beautiful and perfect, too. Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  8. Vickie March 30, 2018 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Beautiful Poem. I do agree that hate is taught but I have never looked at Love in that way. Very good point/insight, indeed.

  9. clark April 1, 2018 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Interesting notion that love most be taught and, (here I am branching off on my own, I think) it is an art and the practice of any art is hard work. Ok! Thats’ what I’m getting from today’s post… gonna stick with it, too.
    (The ‘better’ posts, imo, here in the world of thought and words, are those that challenge the reader not only to understand* but to find correspondence within themselves, within their own lives.)

    What I get from reading this post is that, a person might be born with a musical talent, however they must work very hard to be able to express that talent.
    Love may be inherent in all of us, that does not necessarily mean that it must be expressed. And even for those who are given the opportunity to develop this potential, the teacher plays a dominant role in their development, at least in the initial stages.
    However, while there is no guarantee that a musician need ever become more than the teacher, if they are fortunate in who they keep company with, the opportunity to grow (in the expression of musical talent or in the expression/experience of love) is there.
    Still, as you say, handwork. But then, I would submit, the hardest work any of us might undertake is to change what is, into what might be.

    “I am consistently a gold-medal worrier for those I love.” lol totally identify with that… the gift of developing ourselves usually manifests as the increased capacity to decide how much of our tendencies we express directly to the other person (as opposed to, ‘knowing it’ but letting them find it).

    Enjoyable post.

    * which tends to be kinda straightforward and simple, (albeit, not easy)

    • Mardra April 1, 2018 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      Yes – I love this – “the hardest work any of us might undertake is to change what is, into what might be.” Thank you for your thoughts!

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