Sunday, November 23, 2014

Love Your Fellow as Yourself

Saturday evening (11/22) Pastor Steve Rode and I co-officiated Sara and Eric's wedding ceremony at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I can't remember which program it was that I watched as a kid, where they tried to explain this abstract concept called "love". It was probably Mr. Rogers or Sesame Street, since my mom didn't really allow us to watch anything else, and there weren't that many channels anyway. And I think they were trying to explain not only what love was, but how you would know when you were in love. They explained that you would know you were in love, when you found that special someone, whose welfare, well-being and happiness were as or perhaps even more important than your own. Interestingly, the ancient rabbis of the Talmud reflect this idea too. They ask what commandment one fulfills in the act of marriage, in being married. They answer very simply, the commandment to love your fellow as yourself. If you think about it, a loving marriage is almost the only relationship where you can really observe that commandment to its fullest.

Now, what that children's show in the mid-seventies and the ancient rabbis leave out, and Sara and Eric (aka Berko) show through their love story is that there is one more tremendously important component to true love and a lasting relationship. What component is that, you might ask. Timing. It's all about timing.

You see, when you examine Sara and Berko's relationship, specifically from that first Spurs game they watched together, years of friendship in both Durham and NYC, separation when Sara moved to Dallas, and finally their reconnection at that Halloween party where Sara showed up in a full bald eagle costume, you see that this couple were always great friends, always had a unique relationship. You could argue that their closeness and feelings for each other matched the rabbinic definition we just discussed. However, there was one thing missing; it just wasn't the right time. And when it was, everything just fell into place. Isn't that extraordinary?

Now, you may ask, how do we know when it IS the right time? Well, we don't always. In a sense it might even be a tautology sometimes. However, that should be no cause to dismiss this very important idea that these two lovers teach us.

Sara and Eric, thank you for this really cool lesson. May you continue to share the deep love you share today, in every place and every time, life's journey may take you.