Sunday, October 14, 2007

Established October 12, 2007

My little brother Joe got married on Friday. He and his wife Becky had their wedding rings -- fashioned from titanium -- engraved with the words, "Established October 12, 2007." Somehow, I really like that unassuming word "established." It speaks to beginnings and foundations. It speaks to commitment and stability. It speaks to the expectation of growth and development.

The bishop gave a lovely talk about five keys to success in marriage: 1) Faith in Christ, 2) Taking time for each other, 3) Putting the happiness of the other before your own happiness, 4) Getting accustomed to asking for and giving forgiveness often, and 5) Praying with and for each other.

I am proud of the fact that my brother and his wife planned a very simple wedding, at minimum cost. It was held in my parents' back yard. We borrowed fold-out chairs and tables from the ward meeting house. Members of the family decorated, provided the music, prepared food. The wedding cake was home-made. A simple layer cake with lots of cupcakes decorated in their wedding colors. I am so grateful that the emphasis was on saving money to help the new couple get a good start in life. Establishing a successful relationship is challenging enough, without financial worry thrown into the mix.

The next door neighbors kindly agreed to put Donkey in the barn until after the wedding was over. Not that we had anything against poor Donkey. But he has a tendency to bray loudly whenever there are people in the back yard, hoping they'll come feed him some sweets. We laughed a lot, imagining Donkey exclaiming, "Hee haw!" at an inopportune moment, such as when the bishop might say, "If there is anyone who feels that these two should not be wed, let him speak now...!"

The groomsmen were brothers and brother-in-law, Mark, John and Göran. Nothing could make me more happy or give me a greater feeling of warmth and peace, than to be there, standing by my little brother's side, as he promised to love and to cherish. Of course, my mother was crying before the ceremony had even begun, bless her heart. Mark scolded Joe, "See what you've done, you've gone and made mama cry!"

The bride was so beautiful. She has lived through a lot of pain, but it has not hardened her. It has opened her heart to others. The poetry she's written about her life's struggles makes me weep. She's down to earth, affectionate, and thoughtful. You can see it in how she treats her parents and her many brothers and sisters. But the best thing I can think to say about her is that my brother is so obviously, hopelessly happy whenever he's around her. The second best thing I can think to say about her is that she wore white sneakers under her lovely wedding gown. I love people with a practical streak and a sense of humor.

I love my family more than I can say.

I noted during the ceremony, the bishop's words, "for the rest of your mortal lives." And I almost hesitate to mention it, because nobody else, absolutely nobody, paid any attention to what the wedding was not, only to what it was: a celebration of love and the beginning of a commitment. But I noticed those words, and thought about them. All I can say is that I have learned to look at life in terms of growth. Nothing ever starts out at its potential. Potentials are grown into. Even the mightiest sequoia grows from a small cone. The most surprising thing about the LDS understanding of eternity is our notion that things and relationships that will have no end begin here in the finite realm of mortality, in a realm defined by death and separation. So here's to beginnings and to hope of much, much greater things growing out of those beginnings.

Established October 12, 2007.


iwonder said...

It was wonderful to meet you, Göran and your parents last night. I loved hearing more about your story.

GeckoMan said...

Best wishes to the new 'establishment!' I have to agree that the humble and unpretensious aspects of this celebration were the most remarkable and noteworthy. Thanks for sharing.

I hope the donkey got at least one cupcake.