Thursday, November 1, 2018

A True Origin Story

This last Saturday, I officiated Rachel and CJ’s wedding ceremony, at the Bryan Museum, on Galveston Island, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I love origin stories. Every relationship has one. It’s just not always obvious when it is an origin story, and when it isn’t. You might assume that an origin story is when you met. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t.

Take, Rachel and CJ. Here is how CJ describes the time they first met: “I technically met my future wife, Rachel Pink, freshman year at a frat part. I wish it was more poetic then that, but it is what it is. We were just passing ships at that point though. She was being introduced around the fraternity by a friend of mine. This friend had talked about Rachel... before... about how cool she was, how they were both from Texas, how she had a long-distance boyfriend.... A quick hello, and she was off. A vague memory for both of us.”

Well, so much for first impressions... Seriously, though, she does remember their meeting, and confirms the reason it didn’t go farther then: “I was actually not available at the time. Meeting single guys wasn’t really a focus of mine since I was in a long-distance relationship.”

Looking back, though, Rachel makes a profound statement: “I truly believe the universe had a plan for CJ and me, and that we were destined to meet.” Wow. Indeed, their next interaction happened just one week after the boyfriend was out of the picture.

Rachel picks up the story: “I went to a day party where I was briefly reintroduced to CJ... Then later that night, I was at my apartment cooking some dinner in my kitchen… when three guys walked in to meet my roommate before going to another party. One of those guys was CJ. He walked over into the kitchen where I was cooking and started talking to me. I... remember being a little thrown off but delighted that this guy walked away from where he was with the others to come talk to me. He stayed there with me in the kitchen talking to me and sampling my food until the others wanted to leave to head to their party.”

A little different from that first interaction, huh? Now, ladies, try to contain your excitement as I tell you the next thing CJ did, incorrigible romantic that he is. That’s right, he asked her to join him and his friends on a hike, so challenging that it has a name, the Devil’s Punchbowl. And, no, I am not making any of this up.

Seriously, though, Rachel says that, “on the way back from the hike (that I somehow survived), CJ... was asking me a lot of questions... He seemed to truly want to get to know me; not just... on the surface. After that, CJ pursued me... and I was ecstatic, nervous and blissful all at once... I could tell from the beginning that this was going to be something big... I knew he was really special, and I knew that I was about to start something with him, that was going to change my life.”

You know this is the true origin story of their relationship, because CJ confirms it and being a story teller, adds color to it: “Rachel was brought to another party by the same friend, but this time she was single. We were re-introduced... Later that night some friends and I went over to Rachel’s friend, and at the time, roommate’s apartment... I walked in to Rachel standing over a hot oven, or maybe it was a skillet... Here was this woman of mystery, someone I had been hearing off-hand about for over a year now but never got to really know; dark hair, dark eyes, beautiful and natural... I don’t remember what my friends were doing, what Rachel’s friend was doing, but I remember talking to Rachel in that kitchen. I wanted to get to know her... The hike was great fun for me (I learned later in life that Rachel hates hiking), but it was the car ride back that proved fateful. I don’t remember how I pulled it off but I remember deliberately sitting in the backseat of the car so I could talk to Rachel. It was my chance to really get to know her. It was also the day I got her number. From that day on, my sights were set... She was something different, she was special, and whatever I had planned for the rest that semester, year, college, life, had changed.”

That’s what a true origin story is all about, in my opinion. It is a moment, often realized only later, that diverts you from a previous course, and looked back upon sows the seed for something different, something great, something life-changing.

Importantly, and contrary to what you might think, this does not happen automatically. You have to choose to make what happened to you your very own origin story. In 2017, CJ made that choice. Here is what he says: “I visited a friend of mine... We started discussing the move and marriage. I knew I was going to marry Rachel, eventually. But it still at the time didn’t seem like something that would happen in the present; it would happen in the future. But that night, through the conversation with my friend, I decided that it was time to flip that switch in my mind... I was going to make it happen in the present... Within two weeks of that conversation I was putting in place plans for the proposal... And therefore, here we are…”

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