song of praise

(I just returned from attending a full-weekend wedding. This morning, I dive back back into my archives, but thought I’d post my reading in the ceremony, as Love is, after all, the most foreign, enticing, challenging and exciting of all the countries I have travelled.)

I’m really honored to be here today. To be a witness of one of the most beautiful and sacred days in the life of this couple. And to share, just a few words, of blessing, upon their union.

I think everyone in this audience will nod with me in agreement when I identify these two people as remarkably strong and independent individuals, each of whom constantly recognizes, supports and respects the other in their partnership, not as “the other half,” but as the other, “whole.”

This is a relationship that is grounded; grounded in the earth of respect and compromise. Tilled by sacrifice, flexibility, exchange and experience. Watered by the tears of loss, labor and joy. And rooted in family, community, and especially, one particular and beautiful little boy.

This is a couple that is not ignorant of the challenges and pains inherent to the path of shared growth, but braver for the fact that they are both aware and consciously accepting of the responsibilities and rewards of facing life, from this day forward, together.

And so it is with these strengths of this couple in mind, that I find it most fitting to share the wisest advices on marriage and love I have yet found, from the favorite poet, Kahlil Gibran.

On marriage, he says,

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
You shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make NOT a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink NOT from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat NOT from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone; Just as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but NOT into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together — yet NOT TOO NEAR together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

And on Love he says,

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you — so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth — so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if IN your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure — then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor; Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh — but not all of your laughter. And weep –but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught BUT ITSELF and takes naught BUT FROM itself.
Love possesses NOT nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook — that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Kahlil Gibran (born Gibran Kahlil Gibran bin Mikhael bin Saâd; Arabic جبران خليل جبران بن ميخائيل بن سعد), (born January 6, 1883 in Bsharri, modern day Lebanon, which was part of Ottoman controlled Syria at the time; died April 10, 1931 in New York City, United States) was a Lebanese-American artist, poet, writer, philosopher and theologian. He is the third-bestselling poet in history after William Shakespeare and Laozi. – Wikipedia

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