I have found the one whom my soul loves.
-Song of Solomon

Nine years ago today (yes, five days after 9/11) we gathered with twenty family members and friends, half of what was planned, in a courtyard in New Orleans’ French Quarter to marry each other after three years of dating. There were the expected as well as the humorously unexpected (such as when our officiant mistakenly asked Anne if she would take me as her “wife”), but overall it was exactly as it should be. We were thrilled to be surrounded by so many very close friends, all of whom traveled and many of whom jumped through incredible hoops to make it to the city so they could participate in the celebration. One old navy friend drove 30 hours straight from Los Angeles to make it, only to be asked upon his arrival if he might be interested in reading a passage at the ceremony the next afternoon. Such was life that weekend.

After the reception, we hopped into a horse-drawn carriage (well, in New Orleans it’s usually a mule-drawn carriage) for a short ride around the French Quarter. Even in the fun-lovin’ Crescent City, there was a pall cast from the all-too-recent terrorist attacks, and people there were looking for an excuse–any excuse–to smile. We felt as if we were riding in our own Mardi Gras parade with the mule, the driver, and the two of us rounding the Quarter’s corners to cheers and passing the Lucky Dog carts.  It was, once again, exactly how it should be.

Today, as we note the ninth time the Earth has revolved around the sun since we made a commitment to each other, we’re reminded that it’s not all about the wedding. The wedding is wonderful idea and great excuse to get two families together for one heckofa party. And, of course, makes for some great photo opportunities that will capture the moments so that they can live on forever. But in the end, it’s the day-to-day renewal of one’s commitment to another that makes the journey what it is. We can all live life by ourselves, unattached and unadorned, but when we have an opportunity to open ourselves, to share, to listen, to commit, we experience rewards that are unimaginable the day of the wedding.

As we awaken this morning to commit ourselves to each other and to our relationship for another day, it’s fun to remember what we’ve experienced together as a couple this past nine years. One day at a time, we’re looking forward to many, many more. And if you’re in a committed relationship, we wish for the same reward for you. Given our profession, we’re blessed enough to see that spark in our couples many, many times each year. It is our wish for that spark, your spark, to remain vibrantly alive for each of you.

Photo by Johnny Chauvin

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.
-the Buddha

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