We interrupt this regularly scheduled nightmare, starring a white, entitled, angry, belligerent, abusive, drunken and dishonest dude named Brett who may or may not end up as one of the nine most important lawmakers in the United States of America, creating policy that will affect every single one of our lives and tenured there for life.
Gather ‘round the campfire with me, kids, because today I bring you two stories of true love, and at this moment in time we all need a few good old fashioned stories of kindness, devotion and joy.
I have been asked this week to marry two couples. I know, right? Two in one week!
Both couples have know each other for a very long time. The first have been friends for several decades and, after having done all the usual things: gotten married and divorced, raised kids, found a calling, they have decided to marry. Life brought them closer together at this later stage of the game, and they are choosing to honor this wonderful gift with a pact.
When I sat with this couple to talk about their wedding, their respect for one another and reverence for what they had discovered was palpable. They spoke easily, with patience and kindness — the kinds of virtues that grow in humans over a long period of time, over a lifetime. There were no concerns about the napkins or the flowers or the music. We talked about the ceremony, what they would say, why they were taking this step, later in life.
Tell me what you love about her, I asked the man in this couple. “I love her heart. It is kind and gentle. It is aware and sensitive. It is a good heart.” That’s what he said.
A good heart. Yes.
They chose brief, meaningful readings from Song of Songs and Ephesians … “Live a life worthy of the calling we have received. Be completely humble and gentle …”
The other couple has been together for almost four decades and they just recently moved to Vermont from Mexico where they lived as artists and musicians for most of their lives. They found their way to the tiny town in Vermont where they now live, seeking quiet, peace and community. And in that new space, in their new lives, they have chosen to marry.
When I sat with this couple to talk about their wedding (I have the best job in the world, you know that, right?) it was pure delight. Together they are joyful, funny, kind to one another, and clearly game for almost anything in life. They moved to a place where they did not know anyone, and they are finding their way, sniffing out all the wonderfulness of this part of the world. I wish you could have seen the way he described having just found a stash of pristine records at a tag sale; the way the two of them talked about how this would be their winter project — listening to all of those records together.
He played his guitar in our church once; he is a flamenco guitar virtuoso, and it brought me to tears, the way he told a story with his guitar, the way the music was coming from some otherworldly place, flowing through him, through the guitar and filling our sanctuary, blessing all of us.
These two humans are already married to one another and have been for a long time, so the ceremony to legalize their union was not much of a concern, really. No pomp, to fuss. They chose the most simple, elegant words two people holding love and respect for one another and reverence for this wondrous thing called life could chose:
Understand, I'll slip quietly away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.
I'll pursue solitary pathways through the pale twilit meadows
with only this one dream: You come too.
- Rainer Maria Rilke
And so you see, all is not lost. There will always be people in this world whose hearts lean toward the darkness, and there will always be harbingers of light, too. Sometimes, some days, you have to move a little slower, look a little closer and sit a little longer to find that light, but it is always here with us. I will continue to choose to believe, and I hope you will too, that in spite of what often feels like a an insurmountable mountain of evidence to the contrary, in the end, the light will win.
I love her heart.
You come too.