Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Got That Happiness Thing "Made"

Friday afternoon (9/5) I officiated Sandy and Chris' wedding ceremony at their home in Richmond Heights, Ohio. It was a lot of fun seeing their family again, having officiated Sandy's brother Jon's wedding ceremony to Jenny, a few years ago in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:
Ask Chris to tell you one thing about Sandy, and he will use a sentence that is mutually true: "I have never been with someone that makes me as happy as Sandy does."
The very founding document of our nation prominently mentions the pursuit of happiness, third only to life and liberty, as one of reasons for those Englishmen throwing off the yoke of their monarch. This stands out even more, if you know that they were borrowing this phrase from Locke, who had spoken of life, liberty and property, not the pursuit of happiness.
Now, if our forebears imbued our nation with legitimacy, insofar, as it could enable us to pursue happiness, the question that follows should be more than obvious: How does one do just that, achieve happiness. I believe that Sandy and Chris in the way they have lived their lives, help us understand.
First, you need to be patient. We live in a world where speed is prized. Why is my burger ready only after an agonizing 60 seconds? Why does my iPhone take an unbearable 10 seconds to retrieve that email? Can you believe that it took Amazon a full 24 hours to get me that new flatscreen TV? Sandy and Chris understand that "good" and "fast" aren't all that often equal. Just look at what happened when Chris asked Sandy out the first time, and she explained that the timing was just not right. He didn't give up. All he said was, "I will wait for you. I am not going anywhere." It took about a year, she said yes, and you know the rest...

Second, you need to work at it, but not make a big deal out of yourself. Just do what needs to be done. The Talmud says that the Patriarch, Abraham, would "talk little and do much." Basic business and customer service practice similarly tells us to, "underpromise and overdeliver." Both Sandy and Chris' family and friends can tell you how they embody this quality in their lives as individuals and as a couple. 
Third, and this is closely connected to the other two, you need to let go of your apprehensions, be inspired, relish your life experiences, and learn from them and from each other. Indeed, Sandy tells us that Chris has turned around all her, "'I'm never going to's'", and also says, "I have never believed in anyone more than I believe in Chris,” whom she fondly calls her “Frank Sinatra”. Chris, in turn says, "She inspires me to be a better man. At this point I could not be without her. She is the yin to my yang, the peanut butter to my jelly, and the twinkle to my star."
So, folks, just remember, have patience, get the job quietly done, let go of your apprehensions, be inspired, relish your life experiences, and learn from them and from each other. Then you've got that happiness thing "made..."

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