Tuesday, February 4, 2020

There’s an App for That!

Sunday afternoon, I officiated Christie and Alan’s wedding ceremony at the Verona Villa, in Frisco, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

How did we arrive here today? Like in most cases today, through an app that connected Christie and Alan. No judgment, but at this point in history, if a couple didn’t meet through an app, people raise an eyebrow. What? You met at a bar/at work/at the gym?! How eclectic!

Of course, there is some dispute regarding where the app was, and who used it, in this case. Christie and Alan say it was on their phone, and they used it. Alan’s mom disagrees. She says the app was a little more analog, shall we say, and it was all her doing. That’s right; she followed an ancient Jewish custom and placed a written prayer request on a note in the crevices of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Now, I haven’t seen the analytics on that specific app, but if history is any indication, it’s way better than any Mickey Mouse phone app, so put me down in mom’s column on this question!  

Now, going a little analog, shall we say, is a theme in the maturation of Christie and Alan into the well-rounded persons they are today. They both admit that they were a little hard charging, before they learned to slow down. 

Christie says, “All through college I worked, I studied, I grew into the person I was working to be. I never took a summer off. I squeezed my entire bachelor’s into three years and graduated having already worked a year into my first job. I always felt like I had to be ahead of my peers. Most likely, because I had this drive to become the best version of myself, I could be. And to me, that was limitless, and still is very much today... 

Today, I still strive for the future, because it is so damn exciting, but also, I have… learned to find peace in the now. I have recently learned to slow down, enjoy the little things and the big things that life throws at us. From every ‘I love you’ from Alan to every morning run…”

Alan says, “Being so family centric put me on the road to search for someone to love from an early age. Thoughts like, ‘One day I’ll have a strong, healthy, respectful love with my wife, like my parents do, to raise a happy family…’ were deeply ingrained in me from an early age…” As a consequence, he says, “Throughout my relationships over the years I attempted to force myself to fall in love… I failed in each attempt and burned out.”

So, Alan gave it a three year hiatus, and then due to whatever app it was that connected him to Christie, he says, “I decided to go with the flow (which is very unlike me) and that is where I found my soon-to-be wife.” He adds that when Christie arrived at their first date, “I thought she was too pretty to be my date, but when she came up to me and confirmed that she was, in fact my date, I was stunned. The date went exceedingly well; we had a wonderful conversation and were even approached by an elderly couple asking what anniversary we were celebrating because we looked so happy together.” That definitely qualifies as old school analog!

So, the lesson for today is pretty simple, friends, follow the example of Christie and Alan: Plan for the future, do your very best to make it happen, but don’t forget to slow down and go with the flow. That type of balanced approach will take you far…

Sunday, January 12, 2020

My Person

Saturday evening, I officiated Brooke and Eric’s wedding ceremony at the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center in Plano, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I always ask couples how they found me. Sometimes they went searching on the internet, sometimes their wedding planner referred them to me, and sometimes a friend recommended me. And, sometimes, they were actual guests at a wedding I officiated. That is how Brooke and Eric found me. I officiated their friends, Rachel and Mark’s wedding.

Here is where things get really interesting, though. They, specifically, cited something I said during these personal remarks that they felt described not only Rachel and Mark, but them too. That is the concept of someone being, “my person.”

Faith Fishkin writes, “The term ‘my person’ originated from the show ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ My own personal definition is the person you go to for everything, the person you can’t live without, the person you can’t stay mad at, and the person that supports you in everything that you do. Being someone’s ‘person’ is a commitment. There is a very big difference between being someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend and being someone’s person. When someone is your person, you have such a deep connection and understanding of one another -- you pretty much know each other like the back of your hand.”

Now, true enough, your “person” need not necessarily be the same as your romantic partner. However, sometimes, as is the case with Brooke and Eric, you hit the jackpot, and you get both in one tidy package.

One way in which to use Fishkin’s words, Brooke and Eric support each other in everything they do is in their approach to their Judaism. You see, there can be different approaches to following your faith tradition. You can follow it because you believe God told you to. You can follow it because it is part of your tradition.

However, there is an approach that takes this one step further. Some people ask, why did God tell me to do this or what utility is there in observing this thing that is part of my tradition? Brooke and Eric ask this question. Brooke speaks for both of them, when she gives this answer: “My involvement in the Jewish community… has helped me understand the importance of community and the power of being with others in our tradition. It is through my Judaism that I have learned to do acts of kindness and mitzvot on a daily basis. In the future, I hope to expand my roots and I pray that Eric and I will be able to pass these values onto our children. As the years go on, I look forward to continuing to live a meaningful life elevated by my Judaism.”

My friends, let us all find inspiration in these words, and let us strive for, in Brooke’s words, “a meaningful life elevated,” by whatever tradition, philosophy or approach we live by.