Monday, October 9, 2017

The Gurner/Chambers Wedding

OCTOBER 7, 2017

MICHAEL: What a truly wonderful day today is! When we witness pure beauty, we pause, amazed. 
We recognize magic when we see it. We revel in feelings, deep and beyond words, indisputable and timeless. 
They leave us breathless and fulfilled and amazed. This beauty, this magic, this feeling is called … LOVE.
I have known love and seen love … Gregory, my spouse and I knew love for 41 years & that love continues to grow each day even though he left us two years ago.
There was love in Gregory’s suggesting the name Whitney when Whitney’s parents were looking for a name beginning with “W” to honor Larry’s father Woodrow Wilson Gurner … and love in Gregory and my watching you grow up over the years.
There was love shining through when I first met Nick, and when I saw Facebook pictures of you two hiking together with the Capital Hiking Club. 
There is the now famous love story … of how you two, knowing no one at the hiking club, quickly got to hiking together and chatting. 
9.5 miles and 6 hours later, you agreed to meet for drinks the following week. And today you are getting married!
And we are all here to bare witness to this love … This transcendent, cherished moment.
Whitney and Nick … Nick and Whitney. When you are in love, you get to take a piece of this transcendence and take it with you into your daily life. 
You don’t have to trek to a river valley or to the top of a mountain to feel something important and indescribable; you can feel the beauty and enormity of the mountains within your own hearts and in each other’s eyes. 
And that is why we are here today. Because love is enormous, and to take even a tiny piece of love into yourself , to be able to experience and understand it, to share it with another; is the greatest gift in the world. 
Today, we are all here to take the time to celebrate and to witness this moment in your lives and to remember just how important love is to all of us. 
Whitney and Nick, together you experience love when you see the beauty of nature. In your eyes, there is something more than the trees and the meadows and the rocks; there is something deep, sacred, and more striking.
When you witness the mountains together, it evokes awe and splendor. It is indescribable and immense. This is the same feeling that you discovered by falling in love with one another. 
You fell in love by chance (or destiny,) … but you're here today because you're making a choice to commit to that love. And you are making that commitment as your family and friends bare witness.
You are choosing each other. You've each chosen to be with someone who enhances you, who makes you think, makes you smile, and makes your days brighter.

MICHAEL: I would like to invite Sarah Friedman to the Cuppah for our first reading.
A Wedding Poem - Neil Gaiman
This for you, for both of you,
a small poem of happiness filled with small glories and little triumphs
a fragile, short cheerful song
filled with hope and all sorts of futures

Because at weddings we imagine the future
Because it's all about "what happened next?”
all the work and negotiation and building and talk that makes even the tiniest happily ever after
something to be proud of for a wee forever

This is a small thought for both of you
like a feather or a prayer,
a wish of trust and love and hope
and fine brave hearts and true.
Like a tower, or a house made all of bones & dreams
and tomorrows and tomorrows and tomorrows

Today Whitney and Nick stand before us to publicly declare their love and they would like me to share just a few of the “whys!”
• • •
Whitney loves how thoughtful Nick is, especially how much he supported her as she endured graduate school along with a full time job. 
She loves how he brings silliness into their everyday lives, like when he makes up stories about the goings-on of her stuffed animals. 
She loves all of the adventures that they go on together, even when the adventure is a trip to Target. 
But most of all, she loves the way he makes her feel loved and cared for every single day.
• • •
Nick loves Whitney's kindness, especially when she surprises him with baked goods after a long day of work. 
He loves her thirst for adventure, travel and the outdoors. 
He loves how she makes him laugh every day with her inappropriate sense of humor. 
She embraces his weirdness, especially his love of small, fuzzy creatures. 
And he loves her fanatical love of all things Harry Potter and Chicago Cubs which never fails to make him smile.

MICHAEL: And now the both of you are about to make promises to each other that you intend to keep. You are going to promise to take care of each other, to stand up for one another, and find happiness in each other.
There's a simple premise to each of these promises: you're promising to be there. You're teaming up and saying to the other, "I want you to be a part of my life experiences and I want to be part of yours” . . .
Whitney, will you, keep Nick as your favorite person — to laugh with him, go on adventures with him, support him through life's tough moments, celebrate his successes, lift him up through his failures, be respectful of him as a person, grow old with him, and find new reasons to love him every day? Will you stand with him through this bond of marriage and love him through all that life may bring? Whitney, if you agree, say “I will!”
WHITNEY: I will.
MICHAEL: Nick, will you, keep Whitney as your favorite person — to laugh with her, go on adventures with her, support her through life's tough moments, celebrate her successes, lift her up through her failures, be respectful of her as a person, grow old with her, and find new reasons to love her every day? Will you stand with her through this bond of marriage and love her through all that life may bring? If you agree, “I will!”
NICK: I will.   

MICHAEL: Please repeat after me in unison: 
We vow to be each other's partner
from this day forward.
We vow to bring out the best in one another, 
share our happiest moments together, 
support each other in our saddest moments, 
love each other absolutely
and respect each other totally 
… for the rest of this lifetime
and for whatever may come next?
MICHAEL: I ask you once more … do you agree to these vows? If you do, say “We do.

MICHAEL: I would like to invite Nicolette Elzie for our second reading.
An excerpt from Les Mis
What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love! The heart becomes heroic, by dint of passion. It is no longer composed of anything but what is pure; it no longer rests on anything that is not elevated and great. An unworthy thought can no more germinate in it, than a nettle on a glacier. The serene and lofty soul, inaccessible to vulgar passions and emotions, dominating the clouds and the shades of this world, its follies, its lies, its hatreds, its vanities, its miseries, inhabits the blue of heaven, and no longer feels anything but profound and subterranean shocks of destiny, as the crests of mountains feel the shocks of earthquake.

MICHAEL: You’ve both chosen to wear rings as a reminder of the promises you have made. People often say wedding bands are a perfect circle, with no beginning and no end. 
However, these rings did have a beginning. The metal was formed a long time ago deep within the earth. 
Eventually, a series of lucky events caused it to rise to the surface, where someone dug it up. 
The metal was then liquefied in a very hot furnace — molded, cooled, and painstakingly polished. 
Something beautiful was made from raw elements. Only then did the rings become a circle. 
So be it with your love; as you continue to mold, purify, and polish the love during your time together, as you create your perfect circle of life.
Emily and Nathan, Please give the rings to your sister and brother.
MICHAEL: Whitney and Nick, Nick and Whitney, please repeat after me in unison: 
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. 
As it encircles your finger, 
may it remind you always 
that you are surrounded 
by my enduring love.
Place the rings on each other’s finger …
You have just sealed your relationship by the giving and receiving of rings and you have committed verbally to sharing the rest of your lives with each other. 

MICHAEL: Before we finalize this ceremony, take this advice and these blessings from me to you.
Love is constantly changing.
To LOVE is to LIVE … which is to change.
You are different people than you were when you went to sleep last night.
You will be different people when you go to bed tonight than you were when you woke up this morning.
These differences, at the basic level, are due to sloughing off cells and growing new ones.
These differences are also based on your experiences as individuals and as a couple.
These differences are because of what you did today, what you saw today, what you heard today, what you said today.
These changes are what make life and love interesting and vital and in turn make your relationship interesting and vital.
My blessing for you … make sure you  change with the changes you will encounter, both individually and as a couple.
My blessing for you … see the lessons these changes teach you and the growth you encounter because of these changes.
My blessing for you … make sure that conscientiously work at making sure that your love for each other continues to grow and change,
… and my blessing for you … love each other and each day like tomorrow may never arrive!

By the power vested in me by the Universal Light Church and the Washington District of Colombia 
… and by the faith and trust given me by both of you to perform this ceremony 
… I now … Whitney and Nick, Nick and Whitney … pronounce you husband and wife, wife and husband. 
In addition to your promises and the exchanging of rings … you may now seal this profound, cherished moment once more … with a kiss.


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