I’ve heard it said that love should be long-suffering but I don’t think you should have to suffer much, in love. Love should be long-celebrating — late nights collecting kisses and storing memories in lightning bug jars, travel memories pasted with crooked corners in scrapbooks and the way your love’s face lights when you enter a room. Most rooms. Most of the time.
Remember celebrating your first kiss? The first time you held hands in public? The moment a state just below you decided there, just south of the Twin Cities, love would win. And then remember a statement sweeping the nation — the rise of marriage equality — the hard fought battle of thousands before you to declare this day, your day, your right and your honor. We are bound as your witnesses — honored to be right here in the room where love happens, however that may be.
If love is long-celebrating in so many ways it is also short, at times, and harsh at times. It is sadder and harder than any other experience and it is the singular difference that makes humans both more humane than animals and less, at times. The flip side of a love coin is hate or loss. The flipside of suffering is celebration. Today we choose heads, yours , together and lips locked — roll a dice or make a gamble, build a house out of hopeful cards or lay them all on the line. The truth is — love fails often and every day — but when it doesn’t? That is why we are here.
To imagine any two people are perfectly made for one another seems mystical or magical or downright unimaginably stupid and yet, again, hello, here we are. On this day, this perfect date where we were meant to dance and drink and laugh and sign names on lines, side by side, in long-merrying celebration, we instead look across computer screens and text a hollow “congratulations.” But love still celebrates. Love is sleeping in, sometimes in separate rooms, and waking to a pot of coffee brewing and the window cracked, breeze blowing. Love is driving one hundred miles in a day, every day, just to make a home. Love is choosing to have the back of the one you choose — even when they’re wrong, often when they’re wrong, and to throw open the doors and blast the music when they’re right. This is right.
Today we are gathered but we are not. Today we are celebratory, but we are sad. Today we are proud and happy and yet we are easily caught up in wishing for the memories today was meant to hold. It isn’t fair to cancel a wedding. But we will not cancel this love.
Remember the first time your family wouldn’t invite your husband to a dinner? Remember that you were introduced as “friends?” Remember when I was afraid that your sexuality would somehow scar my child? Remember how hard this path has been and how many lives and stories you’ve changed by this love’s embrace and pursuit? And how easy, too, it is to still fall into tired arms and still hold heavy heads and sacred hands. To bind together a love that has already withstood persecution and misunderstanding and exile and survived this decade and more. Love is not long-suffering it chooses celebration, sounds the bell, clinks the glasses, waves a flag, lights in the eyes of your lover when they spot you across the room.
To bear witness, in the room where love happens, to the hearts that have changed and minds that have widened as you told your own, celebratory and new, story of love, has been one of the great honors of my lifetime. To have loved you both, imperfectly, at times in frustration, as you’ve loved one another has convinced me that love will carry on and carry you through this “could have been” memory and into the magic of whatever next day you choose.
Because you keep choosing celebration. You keep choosing chin up and cocktails and photographs and rebellious joy and celebration. And that’s really all love does (for better or for worse.)
Happy shouldabeenweddingday to my brothers, Austin & Jason. May your love last exactly as it is meant to — and may it continue to show up and surprise you in its great celebration, eyes lit, surrounded by witnesses, more often than you’d imagine, every day.