Sunday, June 4, 2017

Touch the Face of God

Saturday afternoon, I co-officiated Rosalind and Gillis’s wedding ceremony, with Monsignor Roger Smith, at Nina’s Chapel in Leakey, Texas. Here are the words I shared with them and their guests:
I was entirely fascinated with something Rosalind had mentioned about finding a mate. Listen to this: “When I was in college, I had this long checklist [of what] I was looking for in a significant other. The list had quite a few superficial characteristics that I realized really didn’t amount to anything, if the guy I was dating didn’t make me feel like I wanted to be a better person every day. So, finding someone who challenged me to do better, to treat others better, to be that better person went to the top of the list.”

Now, Rosalind, I hope you understand that even where you started is far ahead of where most guys are in college. It’s usually not a checklist, certainly not a long one, and it is 100% superficial. Seriously, though, I love that idea of the most important attribute in a mate, being one that would make you a better person, specifically in your interpersonal relations with others.

Now, friends, it probably won’t surprise you that someone who says that this is what she is looking for in a guy, already has this attribute (in spades) herself. Listen to how Gillis describes her: “Rosalind is the kindest, friendliest, smartest, most fun, most level headed, non-judgmental and beautiful person I know.  She is always willing to go out of her way to make other people feel better or more at ease.”

This is not something that happened by accident. This is where Rosalind’s heritage led her. As she says, “While participation at church was at the forefront in my life as a child, perhaps most important to my spiritual growth was the example my parents and grandparents set for me. They express their love not only verbally but also through acts of service, whether it be volunteering in the community or taking care of loved ones who have fallen ill… This expression of love and understanding is one of the family traditions that has helped shape my spirituality, which is constantly evolving and growing today.”

Rosalind vividly describes how she met Gillis, through an acquaintance. When he described Gillis she says, “None of the superficial characteristics on my ‘checklist’ were listed… Instead, he described Gillis as one of the most considerate people he knew. It made me realize that Gillis was someone I wanted to meet even before he arrived that night… He is one of the most compassionate, loving, and considerate people I know. Gillis has a way of helping and teaching people that leaves them feeling that he truly supports and cares for them, and he does…”

In Gillis’s case, this was no accident either. As he says, “While I was raised as and identified as being a Jew, I was always taught [that] being a good person is more important than practicing any single religion… I think being a different religion than those around me, while growing up, played a significant role in my religious beliefs today. I still feel and think God cares infinitely more about what we do than what we believe.”

Well, Rosalind and Gillis, though a rabbi I am, I cannot contend that I speak for God. That said, my studies lead me to not only feel and think that God would care more about what we do, than what we specifically believe; they lead me to know it is so. Continue, therefore, to build your relationship with this understanding in mind, and through your kindness and compassion, as individuals and as a couple, you will, in the words of John Gillespie Magee, Jr., “touch the face of God.”

No comments:

Post a Comment