I’ve just given Ben & Kristina a picture of them in a group of friends that was taken during our very first week in college. So this picture was taken within a week of their first meeting. I believe we were having a pizza party to celebrate being done with our first week of classes, and I also believe it was the last time any of us ordered pizza from that particular pizza place willingly.
But I brought this photo today not just for fun, but as a reminder of how this all began—as a friendship. And over the years this friendship deepened, evolved, went through transitions and growth periods, and now here we are—celebrating your love for each other, your trust in each other, your respect for each other, and in truth celebrating the incredible promise of your partnership. A partnership and a love that is built on deep, true, abiding friendship.
When we witness your marriage today, all of us here will be doing a lot of remembering—but this is also a day about looking forward. And so I wanted to share a special blessing with you, my friends, for what is and what is to come in your partnership. And it’s actually a blessing from my favorite Psalm, Psalm 118. In the book of Psalms, we have preserved some of the most beautiful examples of Hebrew poetry. And Psalm 118, in my opinion, is one of the finest examples. The verse I want to share with you is Psalm 118:5, which reads as follow: “Out of my distress I called to Lord. The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.”
Now before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that this doesn’t exactly sound like standard wedding fare. I remember the first time I read this in the English, and I admit it was a big question mark for me. I remember thinking: what exactly is a broad place? Is it the sky? A black hole? Precariously suspended over the grand canyon?
But then, I read this verse in the Hebrew. The word the NRSV Bible translates here as “distress” comes from the Hebrew root zarar, which literally means “narrow” or “constricted.” The NRSV translation of “Broad place” actually comes the Hebrew rahav, which means spaciousness, or expansiveness. So I think that a better translation of this verse would be this: “Out of my narrowness, I called to the Lord. The Lord answered me with spaciousness.” Now that, I can understand.
I can understand that God answers us with spaciousness because of how I feel my spirit unknotting itself when I sit in front of the Pacific Ocean at Sunset. Or how peaceful and beautiful it was to spend a late night watching the Northern Lights on Old Main Hill. And I can understand that God answers us with spaciousness because of what I see in the two of you.
You love each other spaciously. And so my blessing for you, my friends, is that throughout your marriage, you might continue to love each other spaciously: may you always have space in your minds to challenge and learn from each other, may you always have space in your hearts to be with gracious with each other, and may you always have space in your arms to embrace each other. God is with you, and may God continue to meet you with spaciousness. Amen.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Wedding Recap Part III: "Wait till you see the second act..."
One month ago today, Ben and I said our vows and officially became an old married couple! Although... with the time difference it is actually not the 9th anymore in Thailand so we celebrated yesterday by taking a little trek around the island and having a special anniversary dinner... tonight we're taking Thai cooking classes in town!
Since I already talked so much about the ceremony during the rehearsal, I'll have mostly pictures for this entry.
When we were all finished getting ready, I tried my best to stay hidden away in our dressing room, but since I'm kind of a take charge person and when something gets done I feel this irrational drive to just do it myself, I inevitably ended up outside of the room, and then getting mobbed by excited family members and retreating back into the room. This happened probably 3 or 4 times.
I should also mention that there was some minor dramz on the day of the wedding - Rachel, (who I've already mentioned is an opera singer and has both her undergrad and graduate degrees in vocal performance) came down with a cold that week. She was a little worried but the rehearsal on Friday went so smoothly that we were sure everything would be fine. However, the next morning she woke up and literally had no singing voice. Now, as a singer myself, I know that we singing types can sing through almost any type of illness by working our finely honed technique and breath support - so when we say we have no voice, we really mean we have no voice. I know RT knows what she is talking about, so when she said she couldn't even phonate above her chest voice, I got worried. In my insanity I even suggested that I could be her backup if she couldn't sing... never mind that a) I haven't had a real voice lesson in probably 4 years, b) I had no time to warm up, and c) I sort of had, like, some other things going on at the time.
But Rachel's persistence and determination totally paid off, and after giving her voice some rest, trying to clear some of the gunk out and doing some gentle warming up she could sing again, but still didn't quite have her high notes or her full power. Luckily, Morgen is not a very high or technically difficult piece, so she and Alex decided to rehearse and made it through the whole thing relatively problem-free. They made an executive decision to give it a shot in the ceremony and whatever happens, happens.
Meanwhile in Boe Chapel....
My second cousins, Alli and Caroline, attending the guest book like pros
Ushers: Ben's cousins Anna, Nels, Nat and Eliza
My Grandmother's best friend from college, Betty
When everyone was seated, we all lined up in the Narthex. I tried to stay out of the way but it was tough because I wanted so badly to see everything!
To start the processional, Ben walked his parents down the aisle; then my dad walked my mom down and came back to hang out with me
Right before we walked down the aisle, our organist re-started the processional theme, which had a very regal sound. My dad turned to me with a grin on his face like a little kid and said "I feel like King Arthur!"
Rachel and Alex - the music went off without a hitch
Everything was amazing - but what I really want to share with you is Linz's beautiful sermon (or at least part of it). She started off by pulling out a picture of a group of our friends at a Pizza party during the first week of freshman year. It definitely made me laugh, but it was also so special - as I looked at the photo I realized that probably half of the people in it were sitting (or standing) at our wedding.
She then went on with one of the loveliest wedding sermons I have ever heard (add to her other spectacular qualities that Linz also knows Hebrew...)
I should mention that I am not a particularly religious person - I've written about this before - mostly because I feel like to believe in only one story of what life is all about is to assume that I have all the answers, or that anyone ever can have an answer. In Anusara Yoga the first principle is "Open to Grace." Spaciousness, to me, means living in a way that is open and accepting and seeing the beauty of what is, both in you and in others. It means loving every moment, and having the broad awareness to see that everything is already perfect. There is just as much beauty in a thunderstorm as there is in a sunny day, it is just a different kind of beauty.
If loving spaciously is the same as living spaciously, it means loving each other exactly as we are. This does not mean compromising or "tolerating" or learning to live with each other's faults; it means that recognizing that each part of us, good or bad, is part of what makes up the whole, and the whole is beautiful.
Totally almost lost it during my vows
After the kiss, Uncle John goes "Wait 'till you see the second act!".... I almost died
High fives all around...
....and lots of hugging
actually not quite :) Party time is next! Stay tuned...