Sunday, May 13, 2018

Embrace Difference

Saturday afternoon, I officiated Nicole and Mike’s wedding at the Pearl Hotel, in Rosemary Beach, Florida. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

One of the last adjectives that might come to mind regarding Mike is “indecisive”. This man knows where is going, and how he is going to get there. It kind of comes with the territory when you do what he does for a living.

So, it might strike you as that odd that he says, “When it was time to move on to college, I was unsure of what to do.” This led him to do what many people in other developed countries do, but Americans don’t do enough of, spend a gap year abroad. Like many who do this he calls this a “life changing experience, introducing me to new people, new cultures, and gaining new insight into myself and the world around me.”

Nicole also experienced the eye-opening education that only travel can bring about, as an Air Force brat. In fact, she owes her existence to it! Here are the places she has lived: Guam, Michigan, Colorado, Alabama, South Korea, Washington, Azores, Illinois, North Carolina, Illinois (again), and now Texas. She treasures what she calls, “the opportunity to travel to different countries and states while learning and growing up with various cultures.”

Isn’t that interesting? Where others might see hardship, these two saw opportunities for growth. Where others might see threatening differences, these two saw diversity that was to be embraced.

That kind of outlook prepares you very well for one of life’s most exciting adventures, marriage. Our Ancient Rabbis pondered what God busied himself with, now that he is no longer parting the Red Sea, raining down fire every now and then, and other assorted heavy lifts. Their answer, matchmaking. Because marriage is about taking two very different people and turning them into one unified entity.

Nicole and Mike recognize this. They told me so: “We always tell each other that a relationship is not all sunshine and rainbows and isn't a given or an obligation. It is a choice and it is something you have to work at...” It’s worth working at, because, it is through marriage that you can become what Nicole calls, her “complete self”.  That’s probably why the Rabbis imagined God spending so much time on this endeavor.

When you have lived your life in a way that embraces difference and diversity, you are able, like Nicole and Mike to say, “We embrace and utilize each other's differences to make us a stronger team...” This is why Nicole says, “He is who I choose every single day... I have never been more sure about something or someone in my life...” this is why Mike says, “I always knew she was the one...”

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