Sunday, March 19, 2017

Our Better Selves

Saturday morning I officiated Parker and John’s wedding ceremony at the Ashton Depot in Fort Worth, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

The idea of constantly seeking to learn from every person and every situation is one that has the potential to tremendously enrich your life. This idea was central to Parker and John's upbringings, and they brought this approach to their relationship.

The very birth of that relationship came from the desire to learn. Parker emphasizes the unique setting for that special learning, that led us all here today:

"John and I met the same way my parents met: In an emergency room. Very romantic. I was a first year resident and he a first year medical student. He was working with one of the senior doctors in the ER who did not seem interested in actually teaching him. I wanted to be a teacher longer than I wanted to be a doctor, so I invited him to see patients with me, and we stayed there all night together talking about physiology and taking care of people. I later found out that he stayed hours later than he was supposed to have gone home."

Now, John agrees that that fateful night, "I was eager to learn, and Parker was eager to teach what she knew." However, in addition to that, a plan hatched in his mind, one, notably, Parker does not admit to having shared at the time, "I was attracted to her enthusiasm and kindness, and that night I made it an eventuality that I would ask her on a date in the future. 'Now' intuitively did not feel right. Having decided that, I spent the rest of the night trying to focus on learning medicine from her."

So, about two years later they reconnected, and John was ready to move forward. Parker was hesitant, "Not knowing whether I could get in trouble for any romantic entanglements with a student, I turned him down three times when he asked me out for really fun sounding dates. However, over the following months we kept in touch, and I fell for him." Once again, this man's patience paid off, "Once we started, there was no stopping, and despite her upcoming departure from Seattle back to Texas, we decided a life temporarily apart would be better than a life without each other at all."

Lifelong learning is not just about discovering new things. It is about bettering yourself, becoming the best person you can be, and creating a virtuous cycle where you want to learn more.

This is what Parker and John have found in each other. As Parker says, "I have been looking for John my whole life. He is obviously an impressive man: he is smart, kind, thoughtful, and incredibly capable, he surrounds himself with wonderful people, and I love and fit well with his family. But our relationship brings me so much more than just having a good man in my life. I feel the most myself when I’m with him. He brings out my best qualities. He encourages me to try new things and to rely on myself and to have confidence that together we can accomplish anything we set our minds to."

This is exactly why John wanted this day to hasten and arrive. As he says, "She and I are our best selves and strive to develop into our better selves when we are together... we have learned and will learn from each other and about each other... I want to continue to fulfill her life. (and) I can no longer imagine my own life without Parker."

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