Jorie and Ryan, our shared traditions embrace lifelong learning, and learning from everyone. So, whenever I officiate a wedding, I ask myself, this couple being unique individuals, what can I learn from them, what lesson are they, consciously or maybe even unconsciously, teaching?
I always preface my remarks with that short intro, because I really believe in this idea with all my heart. You, though, Jorie and Ryan, really stand out in this regard, because this idea has been central to your relationship. You may have been together for just five years, since 5+8=13, but you have packed more experiences, more learning, more personal growth into those five years, than other couples might in ten years.
It would be difficult to cover even just the most important lessons you learned, but one lesson really stood out to me. This is not a bad lesson for others to learn, either, though it is by no means an easy one. I’ll go a little further in saying that this might be the most important lesson for the broken world we live in today.
You decided to celebrate this milestone in your life your way, without any judgement towards others who do it their way. This is right for you. Here is how you put it, Jorie, and, wow, I hope I can get through this, without my voice cracking: “I’m so excited to have a special day that is JUST Ryan and me, I can’t fully explain it. There’s a lot of ways to justify it, but ultimately, we are going to leave this world alone together, so it feels fitting that we should start our journey alone together.”
Interestingly, there is something “very culturally Jewish” about this. What do I mean? Well, while our two main daughter religions believe that everyone should join their “club”, even traditional Judaism does not share that sentiment. If you’re not Jewish, even an Ultra-Orthodox rabbi will tell you, that you are just fine the way you are. If you’re Jewish, though, he’ll tell you that you have to do things his way.
Secular or cultural Judaism takes that original Jewish sentiment, and applies it across the board. It might sound simple, almost simplistic, but its message is revolutionary: Not just do unto others, as you want done to you, but also, you do you. As long as you are being moral and ethical, it’s all good.
I remarked to you in one of our meetings, that something Ryan wrote sounded like poetry. There was no way I was going to leave this out, because it sets the course for where you go from here, as you continue from 5+13=18, to do you:
“It has been a wild five years and it is incredible to think back on just how much we have experienced together. All of those experiences have brought us extremely close and strengthened our relationship immensely. Because of the challenges and obstacles and experiences we have already been through together, I know that this next chapter of marriage will be a successful one. And I can’t think of a more beautiful or perfect woman to do it with.”