Celebrate...celebrate... dance to the music!

Just back from New Jersey and NYC after the wedding of our oldest daughter. What a total blast! There was more good food, good drink, good laughter, love and good fun in those 72 hours than I've seen in a LONG, LONG time. OMG! And my heart goes out to both Jesse and Michael (her husband) who put together a feast to rival anything Arlo could ever imagine or sing about: a wedding feast dinner that couldn't be beat - and not only on Saturday after the wedding but also on Friday after the rehearsal, too.

There was Celtic music with guitar and a fiddler for the bride and groom to process to - lots of loving family all around - flowers beyond the imagination and so much sweet love and hope. They are now off for a month in Italy and all our prayers go with them. Two prayers/poems are worth repeating. The first by my old favorite, Scott Cairns, which sounds a little moralistic to young newlyweds, but sounds like grace to us old farts:

The thing to remember is how
tentative all of this really is:
You could wake up dead.
Or the woman you love
could decide you are ugly.

Maybe she will finally give up
trying to ignore the way
you floss your teeth
as you watch television.

All I'm saying is that
there are no sure things here.
I mean you'll probably wake up alive.
And she'll probably keep
putting off any decisions about your looks.
Could be she'll be glad your teeth
are so clean.
The morning might be
full of all the love and kindness you need.

Just don't go thinking
you deserve any of it.

I read this at the end of my homily and my daughter sighed with exasperation: Dad always has to give us advice. But the old married folk - gay and straight - all laughed in humility. And later the next day, as we were waddling home after Mexican food and beer, she laughed, "Daddy, it was all perfect - even your advice - which I wish you hadn't shared (even in poetic form) but... upon consideration was perfect, too, because... that's who you are!" Today... that is blessing enough, yes?

And the final family blessing at the end of the liturgy in which grandparents, parents, siblings and other relatives gathered around the couple and laid hands on them as we prayed together? It, too, was all grace:

Today we rejoice in the marriage of Jesse and Michael. We celebrate the love that brought them to this day. With love that deepens through many years, may they know its meaning and its mystery, how we become truly one in sharing ourselves and one another and yet remain truly two in our own uniqueness.

May your house, Jesse and Michael, be a place of happiness for all who enter it and a place where the old and the young are renewed in each other's company, a place for growing, a place for music, a place for laughter. And when shadows and darkness fall within its rooms, may it still be a place of hope and strength for all who enter it, especially those who may be entrusted to your care.

May no person be alien to your compassion. May your larger family be the family of all humankind. And may those who are nearest to you and dearest to you be enriched by the beauty and bounty of your love for one another. Michael and Jesse, you have committed yourselves to one another in love, joy and tenderness. Become one. Fulfill your promises. And may God's grace be with you forever. The ceremony has ended so let the celebration begin. Amen.

Have fun, dear ones, and know you are loved and blessed now and always. Thanks, too, to my many blogger friends for your kind words and prayers. You guys touch my heart.

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