Sunday, March 6, 2016

What Matters Most

Saturday afternoon, I officiated Kelly and Joey's wedding ceremony, at Crosswater Hall at Nocatee Center in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

One of the interesting facts about life in America is that when we meet someone new, one of the first questions (if not the very first) we usually ask is, "What do you do for a living?" In some societies this would be considered rude. And, in the forties, fifties and sixties, men would usually ask each other, "Where did you serve?" Having grown up in Israel, the latter question is the same we would ask meeting someone new.

The fact that we, as a society, are conditioned to accept that the first thing we might ask someone is what their profession is, should trouble us just a little. Obviously, work is important. Most of us spend much of our time at our workplaces. Hopefully, if we are lucky, we have found not just a money making opportunity, but a meaning making opportunity. Still, we should not take ourselves and our jobs so seriously.

Now, no one can say Kelly and Joey are pikers in the professional arena. They have each ascended to what is number two on the Jewish Mother MVP (most valuable profession) list. Luckily, though, they have not let this get to their heads.
In fact, one of the refreshing things about Joey is that in defining himself, very straightforwardly he will tell you, "I never really took myself too seriously..." And Kelly, when I asked her, as I ask every person I officiate for, to write about herself, she did something telling too. She wrote her essay in the third person. To me that indicates, that she is able to do what all of us should, but not all of us can: She can step away from her own vantage point, and view herself and her world objectively.

What do they value? Well, they value what matters most to them, family and friendships. After all, Joey works for the family firm. And Kelly (in the third person) says, "Kelly is a 'Mama’s Girl.' Since moving to Jacksonville, she speaks with her mom at least 6 times throughout the day, and is not ashamed to admit it! ... Throughout her entire life, Kelly has managed to create meaningful and lasting friendships that go back to kindergarten. Since her fabulous family is quite small, she considers all of her friends an extension of her family and is very fortunate for that." Wow. How cool is that?

And the focal point of their lives is their love for each other. Joey, as a lawyer, does list bullet points to this effect. By the way, if you know Kelly and Joey, hearing this list, you will know she could and would write more or less the same:
"Why I want to spend the rest of my life with Kelly:
(1) She's beautiful - inside and out
(2) She's funny
(3) She's caring
(4) She's smart
(5) I never get sick of her (that may be damning with feint praise, but still, and finally:)
(6) I love her
I could go on all day with this list, so let's just consider it non-exhaustive.”

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