Saturday, June 21, 2014

A True Miracle

Yesterday, Friday 6/20, Dr. Bob Ness and I co-officiated Jennifer (who happens to be Dr. Ness's daughter) and Steven's wedding ceremony at Harmony Chapel in Aubrey, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

One of the known challenges of communicating through the phone and other technologies where we can only hear, but not see the person that we are talking to, is that there can be mix ups and confusion. So, we use different tools to compensate. For instance, we won't just say that Parker starts with a P, rather we'll say P as in Peter. The first time I spoke to Steven, I asked what his future bride's name was, and he said, her first name was Jennifer, and her last name was Ness. Now, he did not say, Ness with an n as in Nancy, or Ness like the prohibition era G-Man. Since he knew that I knew Hebrew, he said, Ness, like miracle, because the word for miracle in Hebrew is in fact Ness.

Now, you could argue that this was just a technical way for Steven to clarify her name, but then he could have used one of those more conventional clarifications. Having gotten to know Jennifer and Steven, I think there is something way deeper going on here.

There is in fact a fundamental disagreement amongst medieval Jewish philosophers, as to what constitutes a miracle. Some feel that God created the world, set up the laws of nature, and wrote whatever miracles he planned on already into the programming code, so to speak. Some feel that God created the world, set up the laws of nature, and once in a while tosses in a miracle, here and there, but they were not written into the original code. Others still, feel that while we perceive there to be laws of nature, really every single thing happening in the world at every moment is due to the will of God, and so in essence everything is a miracle.

Now, you might ask yourself, what's the difference? All their views are trying to reverse engineer the same reality, and there is no way of really knowing who is right, as this issue is untestable. If you understand, however, that what we are really talking about is not reality, but how we perceive reality, this makes all the difference.

Nowhere is this truer than in the realm of finding your soulmate. How else can we understand that word "soulmate" even? How else can we understand any two people feeling like they belong with other, in Steven's words, "meant for each other," if we do not perceive the miracles of our own reality? How else can we understand two people with diverse backgrounds, and distinct life experiences, coming together, and fitting together so well in every possible way.

The way Jennifer and Steven approach life helps us sharpen our understanding of what is going on here. The miracles we experience are an issue of perception. If you approach life like Jennifer and Steven do, being thankful for the experiences you had, have, and will continue to have together; if you wake up every day, and look forward to the adventures life has in store for you, as individuals and as a couple; if you see your being and your relationship, in Jennifer's words, as "a surprise and a delight"; well then you have it made. Your relationship, like the one these two have, will never go stale, will never lose its vitality, will always and every moment be a real Ness, a true miracle.

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