On behalf of Heather and Derek, who is my favorite nephew, I would like to welcome you and thank you for sharing this very special day with them. Your presence here is a visible expression of your love and respect for their decision to be joined in marriage.
Heather and Derek, today you are surrounded by your family and friends as they gather to witness your marriage and share in the joy of this happy occasion.
Life is a story. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. And, like a story, it is best experienced with the people you love. Everyone in this circle is here because they’re a part of Heather and Derek’s story. Some of you are participating by holding up the huppah, some of you will be adding your voices to the ceremony, and some more will be participating by laughing and crying along with us. Also, I’m told there’s a kiss at the end.
First, Heather and Derek’s friend, John Halcyon Styn, would like to make a blessing.
The universe gifts us with more blessings than we can ever understand.
It is one of the grand ironies of being human: Such big brains, and so little comprehension of the gift of every moment.
But sometimes the universe makes it very easy for us. Sometimes we have experiences that transcend the circumstances of our daily lives and help us feel the gift of existence itself.
... like when the sun sets so beautifully that the world starts and ends in that moment.
... like when we glimpse into a babies eyes and are reminded of a truth we always knew.
... like when a dormant branch buds its perfect green leaves – teaching us its eternal cycle of spring renewal.
... or like when two beautiful, loving souls find one another, let their love blossom, and form a union of their lives.
This love is a gift from the universe. It is a gift to the universe.
The universe itself is made warmer and more loving by the path they walk together.
We are all blessed to be here, but the gift of this love doesn’t end at these walls or in the memories of the people here.
Like that perfect sunset casting brilliant color across the horizon, their loving union casts love across all our lives – reminding us of what this journey is all about.
On behalf of the universe, I want to say Thank You to Heather and Derek. May your love forever shine.
Albert Einstein said: “Strange is our situation here upon Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. However, there is one thing that we do know, that we are here for the sake of others. Above all, for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy.”
And now a story from Derek and Heather’s friend, Lance Arthur.
When I heard that Derek and Heather were to be married, my first thought was, “I have to buy a new suit!”
Bringing a new suit into your life is not something to be taken lightly. There are a lot of things to consider, and you need to be very careful and thoughtful about your choice. Sure, you can see something in the window, draped ever so flatteringly on a mannequin, and think to yourself, “that is SO me.” Then you try it on for size, take it for a test drive, look in the mirror and realize, nope, this is so NOT me.
So you move on. There are racks and racks of suits out there, friends. So many choices you can get dizzy or frustrated or depressed when you keep trying them on and they just don’t quite work. The fit is a little off, the color doesn’t compliment your eyes, wide lapels are out, too many or too few buttons on the jacket ... and those pants make your ass look huge.
Sometimes you wear something just because it’s convenient. You know it’s not exactly right, but you wear it anyway. And all the while you feel just a little uncomfortable, just the slightest bit ... wrong.
But every once in a while, and very rarely, you find something that is perfect. This suit, for example. After Christmas sale, Barney’s New York, Costume National, half price. Italian tailoring, 100% Gabardine wool, hand-stitching along the lapels, lovely detail work inside the jacket, double vents, no pleats.
Once in a great while, it all comes together. It all falls into place. It all works.
All it takes is a little luck, like finding yourself in the right place, at the right time, having the patience to wait for the right one, and never losing hope that somewhere, out there, is the perfect suit for you.
Marriage. It ranks right up there with birth and death as one of the three biggies in life. But it’s the only one that we’ll celebrate with a conscious awareness. Very few of you remember your arrival, and even fewer of you will attend your own funeral. Pick a society, any society: Jewish farmers 100 years ago in Poland, English émigrés to Canada, San Franciscan hipsters ... What’s the one thing they all have in common? Marriage. It’s like a cultural handrail. It links us to the past, and guides us to the future.
And now a reading from Derek’s father, Morris Powazek.
Birth is a beginning
And death a destination.
And like is a journey:
From childhood to maturity
And youth to age;
From innocence to awareness
And ignorance to knowing;
From foolishness to discretion
And then, perhaps, to wisdom;
From weakness to strength
Or strength to weakness -
And, often, back again;
From health to sickness
And back, we pray, to health again;
From offense to forgiveness,
From loneliness to love,
From joy to gratitude,
From pain to compassion,
And grief to understanding -
From fear to faith;
From defeat to defeat to defeat -
Until, looking backward or ahead,
We see that victory lies
Not at some high place along the way,
But in having made the journey, stage by stage,
A sacred pilgrimage.
Birth is a beginning
And death a destination.
And life is a journey,
A sacred pilgrimage -
To like everlasting.
Marriage is the union of disparate elements: male and female, yin and yang, proton and electron. What we’re talking about here is the very tension that binds the universe. When we look at marriage, we’re looking at creation itself.
And now a reading from Derek and Heather’s friend, Magdalen Powers.
“The Sunrise Ruby,” by Rumi
In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.
She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”
He says, “There’s nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!
The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.
Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.
Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.
The vows a bride and groom recite are a reflection of the people they are, and the love they share. Derek and Heather have prepared their own vows. Derek, you first.
Heather, do you remember what I told you at the end of our first day together? “I am enamored with you.” That was true enough, but it was a cop-out. Because what I really wanted to say, from the moment we met, was: I love you.
I have been in love before. But never like this. Because I love you even when I you make me crazy. Perhaps because you make me crazy.
I love you when it’s easy, and when it’s hard. When you’re difficult, and when I’m difficult.
Basically, I have no choice. It doesn’t seem to be up to me. And I realize now that I will always, always love you.
I love your sense of adventure. Your quest for fairness. Your passion and your art. I love that you look at the same world I do, and see things I do not.
I love that you give me room to be who I am, even when you’re not sure it’s a good idea. I love that you remain so kind, in a world that can be so hard.
I love your softness and your strength. Your independence and your camaraderie. You are goofy and beautiful and crazy and make every day a story worth telling. I want to share everything good with you, and shield you from everything bad. I want to make a home with you that is the place we both want to be.
I want to make a family with you that is the exception to the rule. I want to fix every mistake and make a million more and always know that it’s you and me, together, no matter what. I want us to be side by side for as long as we’re lucky enough to live.
Heather, will you be part of my story, will you be my partner in crime, will you be my wife?
Harry: Heather, your turn.
Derek, I hope that I tell you that I love you enough, because you’ve brought an unending fountain of joy into my life.
Today, here in a place that is so very special to the both of us, we’ve brought together our nearest and dearest, and if I wasn’t so very nervous, I’d scream “I love you Derek Matthew Powazek” at the top of my lungs so that they, no, all of San Francisco could hear me.
You came into my life like a “coup de foudre” and from that moment I knew that you were the only one for me:
I love that you accept and sometimes only shudder at my madcap schemes and will always jump on the bed with me.
I love that you have become a champion of Chihuahuas everywhere. I love that you will sit through the most inane sci-fi flick to please me.
But more importantly,
I love your dedication, creativity and drive.
I love that you give voice to other people’s stories.
I love the depth of feeling and connection you have for your family.
Through times both good and bad, we’ve made a wonderful home for ourselves full of laughter, passion, creativity, silliness, strength and support. And now, we’re becoming family.
Derek, will you be my eternal love, will you be my family ... will you be my husband?
This is the point in the ceremony when I usually talk about the wedding bands being a perfect circle, having no beginning and no end. But we all know that these rings do have a beginning. Rock is dug up from the earth. Metal is liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees. Hot metal is poured into a mold, cooled, and then painstakingly polished. Something beautiful is made from raw elements.
Love is like that. It’s hot, dirty work. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It’s the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all.
With that in mind, Eamon, may I have the rings?
Eamon brings the rings.
Derek, place the ring on Heather’s finger and repeat after me:
With this ring / I thee wed / and pledge my life with yours.
Heather, place the ring on Derek’s finger and repeat after me:
With this ring / I thee wed / and pledge my life with yours.
“I am the sky,” says the Hindu bridegroom to the bride. “You are the earth. We are sky and earth united. You are my husband. You are my wife. My feet shall run because of you. My feet shall dance because of you. My heart shall beat because of you. My eyes see because of you. My mind think because of you. And I shall love because of you.”
Heather and Derek, by the authority vested in me by the State of California, as a Commissioner of the Superior Court, it is my pleasure to pronounce you, spouses for life.
You may now kiss each other.
Families and friends, it is with great pleasure I introduce you to Mrs. Heather Powazek Champ and Mr. Derek Champ Powazek.
Exit to lavender throws and bubbles galore.
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