Sunday, August 26, 2012

Security in Spreading Their Wings

Last Sunday I officiated Brooke and Eric's wedding in Arlington, Texas. I referred to a reading I read before my remarks. Here is the reading from the writings of Anne Morrow Lindbergh:

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility, it is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible in life, as in love, is in growth, in fluidity, in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia; nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. For relationships, too, must be like islands. One must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits. Islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, are continually visited and abandoned by the tides. One must accept the security of the winged life, of the ebb and flow, of intermittency.

Here are my remarks:

I use a wonderful book to help couples choose reading for their ceremony, "Celebrating Interfaith Marriages" by Rabbi Devon Lerner. It has a whole chapter with about thirty five modern poetry and prose readings. Brooke and Eric are the first to choose this reading. When they did in one of our meetings, I made a mental note of that as an interesting fact.

Then I sat down to write this ceremony, and I read this reading in depth. I was struck by how deep, realistic, and multi-layered it was. What really hit me was how much this reading fit with the couple that chose it, how much "Brooke and Eric" there was here.

You see, many people in our middle class society have their life charted out in a fairly predictable fashion. They look for and find security in the familiar, the regular, the close to home. In the process, they clip their own wings, settle for something less than what they dreamt of, and learning and curiosity lie dormant in them.

Not Brooke and Eric, though. Listen again to the final words of the reading: "One must accept the security of the winged life, of the ebb and flow, of intermittency." Both Brooke and Eric have managed not to succumb to the deadening security that comes from just settling. They find security in spreading their wings as individuals and as a couple. They find security in learning, in trying new things, in visiting new places. They find security in the question, not the answer; in the intermittent, not the constant; in the journey, not the destination.

Brooke and Eric, thank you for this wonderful insight. May you indeed always remember that, "The only continuity possible in life, as in love, is in growth, in fluidity, in freedom."

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