I’m thankful to have a chance to be a part of today’s ceremony. It is always a joy to speak of love and the beauty that a day like this means not only to the couple, but to all of us who have found love and experienced what it means to commit your heart to another.
I learned a long time ago that finding your mate isn’t about finding someone you can see yourself living with the rest of your life. It’s about finding someone and realizing you can’t possibly imagine living your life without them. The first case is focused on the admin logistics of a lifetime together and the second more pressing interpretation, and the one I think brings us here today, is about the total faith and commitment of your most vulnerable self to another. Not because it will be easy, but more because you realize when it is not easy, you still want that man or woman to be the one by your side.
I would suggest that being in love on days like today is easy. It is when times are hard, when things are in chaos and when you are at your most vulnerable that real love shows itself in the form of that one man or woman who is there every time to lend strength and comfort to make you stronger than yourself and better than yourself when you are alone. I know that every married couple here, who utters the words “I love you” to another has experienced times when you’ve looked to your husband or wife and asked them to carry you through things you didn’t feel you could navigate alone.
I know too, after being in my own marriage for 28 years, that revisiting the type of love we witness today is an affirmation of our own beginnings and our early surrender to the promise and trust of marriage. In a way, I envy my neice and Steve. In a way I wish I still had that brand new love, that clean fresh rain of passion that you are experiencing now and will experience in the coming years. After consideration however, I will tell you a secret. If you do this right and if you guard the other persons heart and trust as I believe you will, your depth and understanding of true love will only grow deeper and more beautiful. Your depth and understanding of how strong it makes you to be so vulnerable with someone, your depth and understanding of how easy it will make the hardest of times and your depth and understanding of why today, you are giving yourself to one person for the rest of your life will be one of the greatest gifts you will ever receive.
Love that is true, love that is faithful and love that is vulnerable, scary, at times equally painful and exquisite in nature is as unique as a storm that opens to a rainbow, as beautiful as a winter that yields to a spring and as satisfying to see as a flower that blooms from a beautiful and youthful bud.
You have both had trials, you have both had victories over those trials and today you stand to yield yourselves to one another in love. We are grateful to share your day and as I shared at your sister’s wedding Becky, all of us are here to help you and Steve recognize there is nothing you cannot overcome together, there is nothing we will not help you grow through and there is nothing that will stop the growth of our faith in your love.
Becky asked me to read a sonnet by ee cummings. It is not an easy poem to read as cummings designed it to been seen and felt for the way it was written as well as for the words he selected. At no time in the poem does he capitalize the letter “I” to separate his importance from the importance of his love and save one or two semi colons there is no punctuation to mar the flow of the words. In particular cummings separates phrases visually as if to allow him to whisper to his loved ones heart quietly and yet still in full view of the reader.
I will however, do my best to help you sense the depth of his faith and surrender:
i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
Be gentle with one another’s hearts. Be gentle with your words and strong in your commitment not just to each other, but to the promise of love.