Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cannot Imagine My Life without My Best Friend

Last night, Saturday 11/23, Reverend Mary Collier and I co-officiated Riley and Bennett's wedding at the Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas. Here are the personal remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Arguably, one of the most important traits each person should develop is a well honed sense of gratitude. Think about it; would you like to hang out with the person who feels like everything they have they deserve, and are entitled to it and more? Or would you rather hang out with the person who feels tremendously lucky for what they have, is happy with it, and is full of thanks and gratitude for it? One of the things that really stands out about Riley and Bennett is that they are definitely in the second category.

You know people have that quality especially when they recognize the smallest gestures with gratitude. Here is one of the first things Riley remembers about Bennett, "I knew I was going to fall... for Bennett right away because he was such a gentleman on our first date, and even opened the car door for me! I hadn’t had a boy open a car door for me since High School (after my Mother told him that he should do so…embarrassing!) It’s hard to find that kind of charm these days... He’s treated me just as great as he did that night on our first date ever since, and I am so thankful for that every single day."

You know that people have that quality when they are able to admit and express how thankful they are even for something that they initially weren't thankful for. Bennett, for instance, was not entirely sure about Riley adopting a dog. Here is how he describes his turning around on that and his gratitude to Riley in the aftermath, "Turns out, in a lot of ways, this brought us closer together, as we consider this dog part of our 'family'."

This quality allows you to open your eyes, and look at life and its simple pleasures together as a true adventure. Riley describes in detail the many experiences they have had and continue to have together, with just that sense of wonder. Bennett sums it up in simple yet profound words, "Throughout it all we were always happy to just be together doing anything. I knew that a life with her would only be continuing that feeling and knew it would only grow stronger...

And so to Riley and Bennett, what we are doing here today is just a no brainer. "Simply put," says Riley, "I cannot imagine my life without my best friend. When I am with Bennett, I always know that life will be an adventure!" And Bennett agrees, "We already feel married...To me, the ceremony... is just going to make the whole thing official. I can't imagine being with anyone else..."

Wow... Anything I would add to that would just be superfluous...

Friday, November 22, 2013

And We Danced All Night

Last night, Thursday 11/21, I officiated Jackie and Eli's wedding at the Riu Palace in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Both (but especially Eli) are huge fans of the legendary band Phish. So, of course, I couldn't help but include quotes from two of their songs in my personal remarks. The title of the post is a quote itself too. Here you go:

Jackie and Eli exhibit an enviable relationship. You see, life can and will throw you some unexpected punches. You can't really plan for each one; you just have to have the right attitude. This is what these two cats have.

They are, as individuals and as a couple, really comfortable in their own skins. They don't take themselves too seriously, and their philosophy of life and living is refreshingly uncomplicated. These are just really happy people. Eli, speaking for both of them puts it so well, "Ultimately I believe in just doing things that make me, and the people around me happy."

It is this approach that allows them to comfortably face the future, and confidently say, in the words of the song, Summer of '89:

As the bus rolled out of town
We were driving blind
No clue where we'd arrive...

I closed my eyes
You touch my hand
You smile
And I'm there...

It is this approach that allows them an ease in their relationship that many couples can't find. As Eli says, "You know when you have a gut feeling, and it turns out to be right? That’s exactly how I feel. Not to sound cliché, but Jackie and I were meant for each other."

It is this approach that causes their love to keep on growing. As Jackie says, "I have never been happier... and my love for Eli continues to grow more and more each day."

Just to reassure you, these two are not starry eyed or naive. They, in the words of Jackie, "know there will be obstacles and challenges to come our way." They know they have their differences. As Eli reminds us, "We compliment each other, and contrast each other." They know, though, that with their approach to life, they can make this all only enhance and deepen their love. And so, they can say to each other, with confidence, in the words of the song, My Sweet One:

Oh with you, I'd travel thick
And with you, I'd also travel thin
And all the spaces in between
I'd travel with you, you're my sweet one.

Jackie and Eli, continue to embrace and cherish this approach to life. Continue to put out those positive vibes to all those around you. Through this may you, in many years from now be able to look back on this day and say (Jackie, you just insert tux instead of dress and boy instead of girl...):

I see you standing there
In that dress you used to wear
You stole my heart
But I didn't mind...

You're the same girl I loved back then
For now and all time
You'll be that girl of mine...

And we danced all night
And we danced all night