Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Things I Learned from Teresa and Ben

Here is an excerpt of what I said at the wedding of Teresa and Ben in Houston this last Saturday:

Now, as we are talking about two teachers here, there seems to be an abundance of lessons that this couple teaches us. The first lesson is one about how we need to be more exact with language, and how common terms do not always fit, especially when they aim to put people in a certain “box”. You see, since the first time I first spoke with Teresa and Ben, I was struck by a very interesting fact. The phrase “interfaith couple” did not fit the bill with regards to this couple, just as it does not fit many of the couples I work with. “Intercultural couple” may be a more apt term. Certainly Teresa and Ben come from different backgrounds, and have had different life stories. That said they have more in common in terms of faith and belief, than many other couples out there. This is not due to coincidence, rather this is due to the fact that they have chosen to really think about these issues of faith and belief. They have chosen together to carefully examine their lives spiritually, figure out who they are, and what they want as individuals and as a couple. They also recognize that they need to continue to grow together in this sense and to focus on the joy, happiness and meaning that such growth can bring to a couple’s life.

There is, however, a deeper, more significant reason that the phrase “interfaith couple” does not fit Teresa and Ben, and that is that they understand Mark Twain’s old adage, “Faith is believing what you know ain't so”. This couple, as Humanists, choose to live their lives, as individuals and as a couple, guided by the clear light of reason. And keep in mind, that they do this not in San Francisco or Soho; they live their lives this way in Houston, Texas. They, in turn, respectfully, by their very example, challenge us to live our lives in such a way.

A third and last thing they teach us is to live in harmony with the rest of this world. There are many people who recognize that there is a better way to treat nature, and particularly our closest relatives on the evolutionary tree, the members of the animal kingdom. It makes sense, after all. That said, most of us, aspire to this as an ideal, but fall short in their day to day lives, myself included. Teresa and Ben, you show us that living a purer life, when it comes to our consumption, namely veganism, is not just an ideal, but is an attainable way of life.

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