Two happy lovers make one bread, a single moon drop in the grass. Walking, they cast two shadows that flow together; waking, in their empty bed, they leave one sun.
Of all the possible truths, they chose the day; they held it, not with ropes but with an aroma. They did not shred the peace; they did not shatter words; their happiness is a transparent tower.
Air and Wine accompany the lovers. Night delights them with its joyous petals. They have a right to all the carnations. –Pablo Neruda
Rev. Rose officiating the wedding of Sandy and Jake Nielson
Wedding Sermon for Marriage of Dave and Feliciana Puig
I’d like to tell you an ancient story that has stuck with me, about a man, and his struggle.
The man was traveling through the night with his family, long ago, on foot. It was dusk, and across the wide, open land they heard a river. When they reached it, the man sent his family across, but he stayed back to watch guard. When he was alone and the night had finally descended into blackness, a stranger came upon him suddenly and began to wrestle with him. They struggled all night long, fighting until the first breaks of day seeped into the air.
Soon this stranger saw that he would not win the fight, so he begged the man, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But the man replied, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” For the he suspected that this stranger was a divine being. Then, from within the embrace, the stranger asked him, “What is your name?” And the man answered his name.
Then the stranger said, “That will no longer be your name, for you have struggled and have overcome.” Your new name instead will be “blessed.” And then the stranger blessed him there, for he was in fact a divine being. So the man touched the ground with his hand and said, “I will call this place the face of divine, for this is where I saw it face to face.”
There is something that moves in all of us. Something that is precious, that we all carry. This is our holy wrestle. Each and every one of us has unanswered questions and each and everyone of us has a mind that can be confusing to its own self. And, for those of us who are lucky enough to have someone we love dearly, sometimes it is our very own loved ones who are the root of this struggle.
It’s just the truth. You know it and I know it. Relationships are challenging. Even though our partners are beautiful and soft and intelligent…even though they are gentle and loving, once you’ve made that commitment to live a shared life, the holy wrestle will always be present.
So how can it be that one would get married? Why would one willingly walk into a marriage, knowing that they were marching straight into a tangle with someone who has just as much on the line as they do? How can it be that so many people commit themselves to shared life, with full knowledge of the challenges that await them? Well, the obvious answer is love, and babies, and laughter, and stability. Blah blah blah we all know why someone might be in love with someone else…but I think there’s something deeper here.
People get married because marriage teaches you that wrestling can be a sacred practice. Because to live well with another person is to winnow away at the ego, to empty ourselves of our need to be right, to learn humility and vulnerability, and to do it all in front of another. To love someone and marry them is to know that wrestling is not about winning. Nobody should win in a marriage. The man in our story could have won the battle, but he didn’t. Instead, he kept that stranger right next to him, because he knew that this was his moment close to the divine.
If you think about it: Dave and Feliciana were both just random strangers to each other at one time. And now they’re standing with us, overjoyed to be here today, because they’ve kept that stranger right next to them. For they must suspect that this marriage is somehow a movement closer to the divine.
To be married is to look upon a person as they are, with all their spit and vinegar and gumption to fight for their way of life, and to bless them. Because to simply love someone as they are is the greatest blessing anyone could give another. And for us to aspire to be the one who loves someone as they are is perhaps the most difficult and important aspiration a person could have in a marriage. Dave and Feliciana have turned towards these aspirations, and have decided to hold on to one another, knowing that this holy wrestle blesses them both, all of the time.
Today, these two come out fresh, with a new name, a new purpose, having seen the love and growth in their shared life. When the first breaks of day seep into the air of their marriage in a moment, I hope we all appreciate that we are witnessing something sacred. Two people blessing each other with their love, seeing the face of the divine in the face of each other, and promising to not let go.