Monday, October 20, 2014

Do You Believe in Fairy Tales?

Sunday afternoon (10/19) I co-officiated Hallie and Leslie's wedding ceremony with Reverend Jim Woods at Hallie's parents' home in Indianola, Mississippi. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests: 

Do you believe in fairy tales? I do. Now fairy tales may involve some elements that are at least far-fetched. There are no fairies, no princes masquerading as amphibians, and no bean-stalks topped with extremely tall gentleman. Beyond that, some many fairy tales contain elements abhorrent to our modern sensibilities. However, these far-fetched and primitive elements do not mean that there are not profound truths in these tales. Indeed, they would not speak to us, if this was not so. They speak to our most basic emotions, and through the retelling of the story calm our fears, relieve our discomforts, and give us hope. 

That is probably why there is nothing better, nothing that soothes the soul more, nothing that inspires greater hope, than a fairy tale that actually comes true. 

That is why this couple, Hallie and Les, truly inspire me. Just imagine I was pitching you a story, perhaps for a movie or maybe a Broadway play (I now have a good connection there, trust me). Hear me out. 

It is about a girl from the Mississippi Delta and a boy from Brooklyn, New York. They don't immediately fall in love. After all, beyond their different upbringings, they are kind of opposites. However a few months in, and they become inseparable for seven years. We just fly through those years in the script, don't worry. Then she moves to another city, he goes to Haiti after the earthquake, and though they still have tremendous love for each other, circumstances cause them to drift apart, and they separate. 

Now, if this is done well on the stage or in the film, despite the fact that you know how many minutes are left, that the story must be far from over, you have bought into the finality of this. Much like Hallie and Leslie thought at the time, it's over. Each one will just move forward, if not totally move on, resigned to the fact that the other is just the one that got away. 

Not so fast. Even though they had consciously placed an ocean between them, in their hearts, they knew, deep down, that this was not the end of the story. They just needed that one crazy far-fetched act, something like, and I'm just spit-balling here, the guy driving 24 hours from Brooklyn to the Mississippi Delta, to rekindle those embers, to get this story back on track. In the play or film, as Leslie is driving, you would hear what I heard in my head writing this. It's an old song from the 80s: "You never know what you've got till it's gone. If I ever catch up with you, I'm gonna love you for the rest of my life. All I need is a miracle, all I need is you." Then they meet again, and it's like they were never apart. They truly do live happily ever after. 

Now, I don't know if the play would end there, or if they would end it with this ceremony. (If the latter, I hope someone really handsome plays me!) Regardless, I already have the words for the final scene. It would be a voice over of something Hallie wrote a few days ago, that really describes their mutual feelings: "I've lived without him, and I can exist just fine, but life just isn't the same when he's not a part of it... So rather than spend the rest of my life denying what makes me happy and whole, I choose love, happiness and to forgive us."

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