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.
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
– MsLove, 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.