Monday, July 26, 2010

That they might have Joy

Last Thursday I spent the entire day in Salt Lake participating in the ceremony of union between my friend and former roommate Jared, and his lovely wife Mindy. It was a magnificent day, filled to the trim with emotion and beauty as we watched these two lives come together as one.

The Morning began with the actual ceremony, taking place in the Salt Lake Temple. The room was filled to capacity with family and friends as we waited for Mindy and Jared to enter what the sealer described as “God’s family room.” I had known this day and moment would be coming for some time, but still it seemed unreal that an event of this magnitude was transpiring right in front of me, and that someone i knew so well was making this tremendous step forward in his life.

Throughout the ceremony i had a clear view of Mindy’s face over the side of Jared’s shoulder. Never have I seen someone so completely overcome with Joy. There is no other word or emotion i can think of to describe what i saw. It was a combination of elation, happiness, trust, and overwhelming excitement, but that description feels cheap compared to what was there. There was something more than this world offers there, something beyond what i personally have found so far in my life. Something so powerful and motivating that it commands that the highest promises of love and fidelity must be made to protect and preserve and nurture it. I think i what i saw was Love in its truest form. More on that later.

After the ceremony there was a luncheon. I had the opportunity to share a few words i had written about Jared and Mindy:

“I’ve lived with Jared for the past year, so I’ve seen his smiling face and bushy eyebrows every single day for quite a while now. However, last November i started seeing less and less of him around our place. We all had our various theories as to his whereabouts. Kendrick, having known him from Chicago immediately assumed it was gang related. Preston, not entirely sure how he knew Jared, didn’t really notice right away. And as for me, the most logical explanation was the weird smells coming from our kitchen.

Well, it turned out to be much more serious than any of us could have imagined. Jared had fallen in Love with and incredible young woman (and yes, when i say young i do realize that she is a grade older than him and i also realize that this may still be a touchy subject) and the reason that we hadn’t seen Jared is best summarized by the words Mark Twain’s Adam said of his Eve: “Wherever she was, there was Eden.” Mindy had become Jared’s piece of Paradise. In fact, in the days leading up to their engagement, Jared would struggle to sleep, not so much because he was nervous or stressed by the relationship, but because reality had become better than his dreams.

Mindy and Jared quickly became inseparable. Whether it was knocking each other over with kick balls or hitting each other on nose during every prayer, they were always together, and always with a glowing light in their eyes. With the clarity of hindsight, it difficult for us to know how we missed the signs prescient of this glorious union. It seems that Jared loved Mindy even before he had the privilege of dating her, calling every girl he met or went on dates with by the name “Mindy.”

Today we celebrate. We Celebrate friendship, we celebrate family, we celebrate relationships and Joy. We celebrate coming together and starting new, more brilliant lives. We celebrate Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one. We Celebrate all that is good and beautiful in this life. Love is the beauty of the soul. As Robert Browning said, “Take away love, and our earth is a tomb.”

Jared and Mindy, it has been such a privilege and honor to know both of you, to see the joy you are in each other’s lives. I’ll miss the long sessions of pillow talk and the council meetings to plan Jared’s next move. Our apartment really won’t be the same after today. But beyond any other emotion, I am simply overjoyed at the sight of your happiness.

And so i raise my glass in honor of you, in honor of the love you share. May happiness and joy ever reside within your home and within your hearts is my prayer and wish for you.”

In looking up quotes to use in this speech, i read one from the book “Captain Corelli's Mandolin.” It was too long to use in the speech, and hard to apply in a toast, but it was on my mind throughout the entire ceremony and the rest of the day:


“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because that is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day... That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

It’s too easy to mistake being "in love" for real, true, pure Love. The former will slowly fade with time, while the latter grows stronger every day, with every moment spent together. Seeing the sparkle in Mindy’s eyes as she promised her eternal love for Jared sort of shook me, reminding me what it is that i want in my life. Motivating me and recommitting me to be the best person i can in hopes of one day finding my own piece of that same happiness.

On the next "Working Pen": Liz fumbles away her chance at being the next to be wed.

11 comments:

Alison Rae said...

don't worry, this just brought tears to my eyes more than once, that's all...

Melissa said...

Beautiful!

Shelley said...

Wow. That was ... well I don't have a good word for it ... amazing, powerful, beautiful, spectacular, etc.

J.M. said...

Greg, you rock my world. Great speech, great preparation. They are great, aren't they?!

Ie Ling Gail said...

Greg, that was beautiful. Thanks for posting that since I didn't get a chance to be there on that special day.

MissyJEE said...

oh my goodness. absolute truth, and beauty, out of your little pen right there, greg.

Preston Redd said...

I couldn't have described the day better; however, neither your words nor mine will ever describe the majestic spirit felt there. P.S. I loved the conclusion. Sorry Liz

Tati said...

Greg. That was simply beautiful. You have a gift with words and you described love in its purest form perfectly. Thank you.

J.M. said...

Greg, Missy said you have a little pen....tehehehe, you know what the root of the word pen is, right?

aubrey said...

Greg, that was BEAUTIFUL. I teared up a few times... so so good.

Liz "The Best" O. said...

I fumbled because I had to use my left hand because my right hand had been injured in a softball accident! Also, in a feminist demonstration of independence I PURPOSEFULLY fumbled the bouquet... Oh, and well written!