Sunday, October 14, 2018

Conquer Anything, Together

Saturday evening, Reverend David Harry and I co-officiated Natalie and Dave’s wedding ceremony, at the Brik Venue, in Fort Worth Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Doing what I do, I hear many different stories about how people met. Usually, I do not need an elaborate explanation of the mode of transportation they were using at the time. I usually understand what you mean, if you tell me you met on a train, a plane, or a cruise ship. Though I may be not as well versed in the intricacies of how these machines work, as my grandfather, the airline mechanic, was, I understand them well enough, that I can concentrate on the story. But a Pedal Hopper? Seriously?! What on earth is a Pedal Hopper?

Dave, in describing how he and Natalie first met, helpfully clarifies what this is: “Natalie and I met on a Pedal Hopper bar crawl in Denver, CO. It is essentially a street car that you can rent for a group of 10-12 friends, and it is powered by the group’s ability to pedal across town from bar to bar.”

Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Recently, I did marry a couple of serious bike riders, who found in each other kindred spirits, and fell in love through biking. That is even how they met the – I am not making this up – Disciples of Christ pastor, who co-officiated their wedding with me. Natalie and Dave, are, um, different… 

Listen to Natalie: “The physical element of the bike crawl turned out to be a real pain… so I made sure to find the broken seat on the contraption and pretend to pedal in an effort to not get called out…” Dave shared her lack of enthusiasm: “Natalie and I both found each other through a mutual distaste for pedaling, and struck up a conversation while the rest of the group picked up our slack.” 

You might think that shared slacking off wouldn’t be strong enough a spark to light a relationship. You would be wrong, because Natalie says, “I’ve never felt so connected to another person so quickly on our first date. From that point forward, we were never apart.”

Now, you may be thinking that I shared that story, just for humor’s sake. To that I would say, shame on you. It wasn’t JUST for humor’s sake. I really believe that this activity, or inactivity, as the case may be, has some really important lessons for marriage. 

Some people like to speak of “traditional marriage,” as if marriage has been static through the generations. In actuality, marriage has changed with every generation. 

Fortunately, like most things we take for granted in modern life, and contrary to the naysayers, marriage today is better than it was in the past. Marriage today has the potential to be a true partnership, like a riding a tandem bike, at first, and eventually, when you have a family, like driving a pedal hopper, where the couple needs to all the pedaling. (Sorry, Natalie and Dave.)

However, we should not misconstrue what the word partnership means. It does not, and I would even say, almost never is, a 50/50 proposition. Sometimes one person does more of the pedaling, sometimes the other does. Sometimes, both individuals might be pedaling, but one of them directs where the vehicle is going, say to Texas, and the other obligingly follows. And, sometimes, the couple needs to take their feet off the pedals, and let their family and friends pedal for them. That is why Pastor David just asked all of you to commit to uphold and support the couple in their marriage. 

The most important thing, friends, is to continue to be there for each other, like these two have throughout their relationship, whether you can pedal or not. If you play your cards right, the moments when one or both of you cannot pedal, will strengthen, not weaken your relationship. As Natalie says, “I thought I loved Dave as much as I possibly could; the way he unequivocally cared for me without hesitation or pause, made my love for him grow deeper.” And, as Dave says, “With Natalie, it never felt like it was too much. Every challenge felt achievable, and every problem felt solvable… We have worked so incredibly well together… I feel no fear looking into our future together, because we have already proven our ability to conquer anything, together.”  

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