Monday, May 16, 2016

Where They Are

On Sunday, Father Patrick Mowrer and I co-officiated Ginnifer and Jeremy’s wedding ceremony, at the Talking Rock Resort, in Prescott, Arizona. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

When I sat down to write about Ginnifer and Jeremy, I was reminded of a story from Genesis. Abraham’s eldest son, Ishmael, and Ishmael's mother, Hagar, wander through the desert. In the absence of water, they are dying of thirst, and have given up hope. Suddenly, just as all seems lost, an angel appears to Hagar, and says: "Fear not, for God has heeded the cry of the boy, where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand... Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She... let the boy drink." (JPS Translation of Genesis 21/17-19) Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, says that the entire Torah portion read on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (which includes this short story) is only read because of three words: "Where he is". What is it about these three words? Scripture emphasizes through these three words, that God deals with Ishmael, indeed with each of us, not by some artificially imposed standard of where we should be but where we are.
So, why did this remind me of Ginnifer and Jeremy? Well, first of all, because this very human desire, that each of us has, to be met where we are, was what they talked about in our first discussion. That is what they were seeking. Now, I say every one of us yearns for this, but Ginnifer and Jeremy had another reason, one they may not have been even conscious of, to express and search for being met where they are. What do I mean?

Listen to their own words, first to Jeremy speaking of Ginnifer: "Ginnifer… will always go above and beyond to make sure you feel included and loved.  I love the fact that she understands the importance of family and will do anything for them.  That love and commitment extends to her close knit group of friends.  A lot of people are good hearted, but Ginnifer continues to show me how big her heart is, whether it’s helping out a neighbor, volunteering for a cause, or just helping out any way possible… She keeps me centered, and continuously shows me and everyone around her what a huge heart she has…"

Now, when Ginnifer heard Jeremy speak of her big heart, she somewhat demurred. In fact, she contends that, if anything, she learned how to be kinder and gentler from Jeremy. Listen to her words: "I know Jeremy is always there to bring me down to earth and to support me when I need it most. I desire to marry Jeremy because he is what makes me stronger, more sensitive, and an overall better person. He is my love..."

Ginnifer and Jeremy yearned for being met where they are, because that is how they treat others. To them, this is the natural, normal and routine way to treat others. Why should they not expect the same? It is this fundamental approach to others, that promises to make their marriage a lasting one. Through continuing to meet each other, their family and their friends, where they are, they just have it made…

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