Friday, January 1, 2016

We Are Picking Each Other

Thursday night, New Year’s Eve, I officiated Elise and Dan’s wedding at Castle on the Lake, in Jacksonville, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

The best, most treasured learning is that that helps us uncover who we really are as human beings, what our values are, and how we can live out those values in our day to day lives. Elise and Dan not only embody this behavior; they come from families that set an example for them in this area.

In what we would call in the literary sciences, "foreshadowing", Elise tells us that “Dan grew up in a household that loved Jewish culture. I grew up in a family that loved Irish culture.” Both families learned about those other cultures, without having any hereditary ties to them. Dan's family admired the values upheld by Jewish tradition, as they are expressed in the American Jewish community - with hard work and devotion to learning. They also had great admiration for the Modern Jewish State. Elise's family admired the happiness, resiliency and to borrow a phrase from across the channel, the joie de vivre, of the Irish People.
When you grow up with a love for other cultures, an openness to the wider world, and a genuine interest in learning from other people, your life has the potential to become a journey of moral growth and maturation. Indeed, Elise say that her work, “merges my love for design with my love for psychology and understanding people and the way individuals think.” Dan, who, due to work, lived in Taiwan and now frequently travels to Israel, says “I’ve been on an eight-year journey since graduating college of expanding my mind, values, and worldview through experiences." 

And this immersion in moral growth and self improvement, as a way of life, was fundamental from the beginning of Elise and Dan's relationship. Indeed, Elise says that, “At the beginning of our relationship, Dan and I would spend endless hours discussing religion and our thoughts (about it)."

This deep contemplation and open exploration led her in short order to knowing that marrying Dan was in the cards. Here is what this commitment means to her: “Marriage means you stay individuals but become one. It is the ultimate sign of commitment to one another. Out of everyone in the world, we are picking each other... I know without a doubt that Dan is my soul mate."

Dan seconds that notion, and envisions in it the same continuing journey of mutual growth, that Elise so values, "I... make a real commitment to her and our future life together in front of our families, our friends, and our God. I put the first 30 years of my me-first life behind and discover my true self in selflessness. I reconnect to a joy and innocence from my youth, and make a promise to a beautiful, intelligent, kind, compassionate woman."

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