Sunday, March 26, 2017

Keeping It Real

Friday afternoon I officiated Carol and Elliott’s wedding ceremony at the Marty Leonard Chapel, in Fort Worth, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Carol and Elliott have each spent time exploring their own identity, and searching for their place in the world. The depth to which they have engaged in such contemplation strikes me as something that is beyond their chronological ages. Carol says: “I took to church strongly and was soon heavily involved with the children’s special needs ministry, found the lord and was baptized in the Guadalupe River… Spirituality did a lot for me…” And Elliott says: “As a young teen… I struggled to find my own real spiritual identity… I more or less had to find my own spirituality and beliefs. What I was left with best resembles Reform Judaism, yet not strictly Reform.”

Now, one of the perils of being such a searcher, is that you might take yourself and your beliefs too seriously, to the exclusion of others' beliefs. Not Carol and Elliott. As Carol says, “I wholeheartedly believe that spirituality is a journey that you are never done with, despite the religion one identifies with.” And, Elliott adds a humorous tone, or at least that is how I took it, when he says, “I rarely eat pork.” This reminds of the groom years ago, who shared with me that his grandmother was so religious, that she never ate pork, but would eat bacon, because bacon is just so good!

It is this "keeping it real" approach that made such an impression on Carol. She recounts their first date: We... walked around downtown for around ten or eleven hours. It was amazing. We talked about everything. The conversation was real, unfiltered, and sincere. He acted goofy, told bad jokes, sang and even skipped. It was a breath of fresh air being around someone so real with their opinions and able to be themselves without worrying of judgment."

And, in his recounting of it, Elliott once again emphasizes the depth of thought he found they shared, and the humorous side of it too: "We walked for miles all over town, just talking about everything and anything. Our past, the things we'd been through, the things we wanted in life. There was also an incredible amount of silliness involved as well, with a lot of laughter, I still remember that date vividly."

Carol and Elliott are able to continue to preserve that sense of depth, openness and humor to this very day, and they believe that that is the source of their ongoing bond. As Carol says, "My favorite thing about our relationship is that it mimics everything our first date was." This is why Elliott says, "We're choosing this time to marry because we think it's time, we love each other and we know nothing is going to change that."

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