This was the homily given by my best friend and editor, Sydney James, as she officiated at our best friend's wedding.
It is a masterful piece of writing that articulates a message of hope in a time which so desperately needs to hear it.
Good afternoon, and welcome to this wonderful celebration of the wedding of Dave and Marianne.
I’m Sydney James, and I’ve known Marianne for thirty-one years. She’s a sister to me in all but blood. Lois Roma-Deeley, our other sister, is the Matron of Honor, and Rory Dave’s son, is the best man. Also standing here are four girls who love Marianne as their aunt.
In all the time I’ve known Marianne, I have known her to be hopeful. Many of you here today have sat with her telling her your deepest dreams, and she has carried the flag of hope into battle for you. And for herself, she never gave up hoping to find the love of her life.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone here has to choose, every day, whether to hope, and what to hope for. And at the deepest levels, despite the anger and violence in the world, and in the face of our own doubt and sadness and fear, we all are hoping that love will win. We all want love to win.
Isn’t that why we get emotional at weddings? No matter how cynical we might be, there’s something about two people taking this step together, declaring themselves absolutely on the side of love winning, that makes us dare to do it too. All of us in this room with them, for this moment, we’re living in hope!
But whenever we hope, here’s the thing--it’s always for something outside ourselves. Because if we could give it to ourselves, we would have done it already and we wouldn’t need to hope!
So it’s only something outside, something other, something bigger than ourselves, that can fulfill our hope. And that’s what makes it so difficult. We don’t control that Other, whether it’s a company to give us a job, or a neighborhood where we want to find a home, or finding our life partner.
When we hope for something Other like that, we have to surrender to something that often we can’t even see, and gamble that it might meet our needs. And that’s why we resist hope. We like to be in control and we like to look at something and categorize it, and define what its limits should be. That makes us feel comfortable. But it also leaves our deepest needs untouched.
When Marianne and Dave entered into this relationship, they had to choose whether to let that process of surrender even begin to happen. They had to choose not to despair when things weren’t going exactly as they wanted them to.
They had to choose not to drape some illusion over one another, to remake each other in their own image and then get mad if the other person didn’t play along. Or to cover themselves with an illusion of being somebody else, somebody they thought they were supposed to be.
For real love to happen, they had to choose to truly see each other, and hear each other, and themselves, for who they really are. And when they were each seen and heard like that, they were able to become more of their real selves.
To me each of them seems now to be a more strongly defined, clearer version of the person I knew before. They began by being as authentic as they could be, and that willingness to risk being known has led to them to be more deeply, more vividly, more truly themselves.
For Dave and Marianne, and for me and for many of you, it’s the love of God that is the biggest, most important love of all. These two believe that they found each other because God wants to manifest his love for them and for the world through their relationship. And they are daring to hope that that love will nourish and bring joy not just to them, but to others they’re in relationship with and those they encounter in the world.
And that is all of us, today, who may need a witness to testify to us that hope is a brave thing, a true thing, a thing we can trust. And that love will win.