Monday, January 10, 2022

The Time We Have Together Now

Saturday night, Father Misael Castro Cacua and I co-officiated Hillary and Gabriel’s wedding ceremony at the Hotel Hacienda Vista Hermosa in Tequesquitengo, Mexico. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

The rabbi who mentored me in officiating interfaith weddings, Rabbi Lev Ba’esh, taught me to ask every person I marry to write an essay about themselves. And the essay needs to cover five different points, life history, spiritual history, how you met, why you want to get married, and why now. The last two questions are indeed separate questions that each need to be answered.

I have been running into an interesting phenomenon the last two years, though, with regards to the answer to the final question. I get a lot of answers that would best by summarized by two words possibly written over a gif with Tom Hanks sporting a bewildered expression, “Like, seriously?”

Gabo’s answer is basically along these lines, “We have been trying to have the ceremony for almost two years, however due to COVID we have had to postpone 2 times.”

Now, this may shock you, but Hillary’s answer is slightly longer. In fact, parenthetically, Hillary’s may be the longest essay I have ever received, going on 500+ weddings. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Just sayin’.

Here is what she says, “There are a few answers that I could give to this: Because I waited three and a half years for him to propose (Ouch, Gabo!); because I waited a year and a half to have my already scheduled wedding; because getting married on the side of the highway in front of an OXXO is NOT a wedding (non-Latin Americans, an OXXO is like a 7-11, but with drinkable coffee); because our wedding should be more than a signature that allows me to get residency for a living and work permit; (finally) because my mother would probably murder me if we don’t.”

Now, humor aside, this is where Hillary gets really deep, and gives what may be the best answer I have gotten to the “why now” question in fourteen years.

“I think the real answer is somewhere between the reason fifteen of my friends got pregnant during COVID and the response I recommended my best friend give to her four-year-old son who was asking about death after Trouble, one of the chickens at his school, died. (RIP, Trouble.)

We are all going to die, so we need to get the most out of the time we have together now. We need to show the people we love that we love them. In this case, I need Gabo to know that if I die in 70 years or tomorrow, I would be happy knowing he was next to me as my chosen life partner for as long as possible. I can’t wait another minute to start our forever.”

Wow. As an existentialist, this answer blew me away. If there is any lesson worth learning from the last two years, it is this lesson, that Hillary and Gabo teach us today.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Seal This Bond of Love

Sunday evening, I officiated Madison and Garrett’s wedding ceremony at the Stonebriar Country Club, in Frisco, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Madison and Garrett’s story begins with something I hesitate to share with you. The first activity they engaged in was so passionate, so fiery, so intense for a first date, that it seems more appropriate for a bodice ripper than a religious ceremony. Their mutual attraction was so strong that according to Garrett this activity happened within fifteen minutes of meeting each other. 

I want to make sure I don’t get it wrong, so sensitive this topic is, that I will just quote Garrett: “Within fifteen minutes of meeting her, she showed me (pause for effect) a fantasy football player ranking that she had made in her journal from scratch and asked me what I thought about it.” 

Garrett continues, “This amazed me as this was something that I had never seen another girl be interested in. This mutual interest in fantasy football allowed us to have an initial spark that bonded us faster than I had ever had before with another person.” True to form, by the way, when I asked Madison why she wants to marry Garrett, she said, and I quote, “I want to marry Garrett because there is no doubt to me that we are end game.”

Now, to get a little more serious. (Not that fantasy football isn’t serious. Please don’t hurt me.)  Madison and Garret’s story is actually a testament to the fact that though none of us wishes for hardship, it is hardship or more accurately our response to hardship that makes us who we are, not only as individuals, but as couples. Check this out.

Madison, a great believer in fate, says something that might sound counterintuitive, “I truly do not think we would have been ready to get married until we did long distance. Long distance was the best and worst part of our relationship. It taught us how to be independent from each other but also how to MISS each other. It showed me gratitude for Garrett and patience which I struggle with. It 100% made our relationship stronger and made me more confident. Being away from Garrett made me crave being near him. I am grateful for the obstacle because it reaffirmed for me that I wanted to be with Garrett forever and how much I loved him.”

Garrett agrees, “Marrying her is in fact one of the easiest and effortless decisions I can make because of how much I love her. I truly know at this point there is no one else I want to spend my life with. I know after conquering two years of long-distance that we are now ready to get married, as this was the ultimate test to decide if our relationship is meant to last. I know that if we can make it through something as difficult as that, that we can conquer any goals we desire together.” 

Garret ends with words I can’t beat, “Marriage will seal this bond of love we share permanently and allow us to take the next steps in our growth as lifelong partners.”