Today I performed a wedding. The day was slightly overcast, not too warm, not too cold. The families of both parties were warm and happy about the marriage. The couple was handsome and simply glowed with happiness. The very air seemed to shimmer. The ceremony was lovely and I have high hopes for this Union. I can see them together for a very long time.
Weddings always bring out the philosopher in me. This wedding even more than most, due in part to fact that it may be my last. I look back over my career as a minister. I can only hope I did more good than harm. Some of the churches I served were difficult, some were easy. All still hold a warm place in my heart and in every single congregation, there are folks who still live in my heart. I have been blessed.
I would have made a lot more money had I stayed in my previous career, but oh, I would not have been nearly as happy with my life. But there is a lot of uncertainty. In many ways, preachers are a lot like teachers: you sow seeds and hope for the best. But you never truly know what the crop will be. You will never know the results of your life-work.
I have performed many weddings in my time, and with each one, I hope and pray for the couple, that they will grow together, that they will learn from one another, that they will be good for each other.
I often wonder about the vagaries of love. What is love, anyway? Sometimes I think love takes more courage than is humanly possible. Life gives us such hard times and relationships often suffer. Does that mean that love is only for the very strong? Cannot weak people also love? Is the love of a weak person somehow worth less? Will it last a shorter time, unable to brave ill-fortune, or can the weak be made stronger because of love?
Is love something that used to last a lifetime but seldom seems to last these days, or are our expectations simply more unrealistic now?
And there are so many other kinds of love than just the romantic. We often forget about them when we speak of love.
Love. Is it a verb or a noun? I say it is both. It calls for action, yet sometimes, just sometimes, it stays far away and hidden. I think of the mothers that have given up their children for adoption. Never think they do not love their children. Often it is the best they can do for their offspring, even though it leaves their very souls torn and bleeding. That is a quiet love, a brave love.
I think of parents whose children are autistic or who never develop. Those parents sometimes manage to stay together through love. And sometimes not. But even when the parents cannot stay together, it does not mean that they do not love.
I think of life-long friendships that weather the worst of times. I think of soldiers in every nation, that truly want to serve their country, even to the extent of laying down their lives.
And I think of the animal who trusts their human and whose trust is honored and respected.
I don’t know very much about love. As a minister, as a human being, I have seen love in many places and in many forms. I often see it, but I cannot define it.
I don’t know all the answers. Heck, I don’t even know all the questions.
Sometimes I think that is why we are here, to learn as much as we can about love.