Ah yes, Truth. It is, in all reality, the most elusive word, concept and most coveted item in the universe, only second to Love. And invisible as it may seem, you can recognize it in the tears of a baby, the facial expressions and wrinkles of an elderly person, indeed, in the smile and glow of a newly married couple.
Such was this writer’s privilege to witness this past weekend, as an eldest son was married to his high school sweetheart. There was an avalanche of Truth, Love, Honesty, Sincerity and Commitment; and it was good and welcomed. It was refreshing and emboldening, it was humbling and peaceful. It was grace and beauty in full force. Dare I say, it was Angelic.
As the groom’s father, I had the distinctive privilege and task to create “the talk” to be presented/delivered at the reception, shortly after dinner commences. The “talk” to express deeply seated emotions of caring and love, heartfelt advice for that elusive “Happily Ever After”, and bits of interjected humor to prevent a flood of tears from dispensing from those in attendance, and me (even though it happened anyway).
In contemplating the theme, duration, flow and context of this “talk”, I had to boil down and distill the essence of what would be my most important message for my son and his new bride. And, manage to spew forth wisdom, humor, integrity and wit; all in about five minutes or less. No pressure, right?
Well, I’d like to share with you that “talk”, not only because it causes tears to well up inside me every time I read it, but moreover, because I believe it is an incredibly important message for everyone to hear and contemplate as each of us regularly reviews our own lives and relationships.
Father of the Groom
Brandon and Courtney, I called these words, “Wisdom of an Old Fart”, because listening to me sometimes stinks and I seem to hang around forever, so let me just tell you. I’ve condensed your more than quarter century of life to one page. And Yes, I know it’s really on more than one page, but you earn and need that LARGER font when you become an “Old Fart”.
And, I’ve always been a “Big Picture” guy, so here are some Big Picture thoughts…
Brandon and Courtney, when I look at the two of you today, as a father and now, father-in-law, I’m overjoyed and excited beyond imagination; because I see two Souls, but only one Heart.
Brandon, I want to tell you today that about 10 years ago I seriously considered selling you… on the notion that Life is something to be protected & cherished above all else. But I did not, because in Truth, Life is something to be Experienced, Shared, and Given Up; in exchange for Compassion, Humility, Understanding and Love. Did I mention Humility? So Brandon, soften the edges a bit and allow yourself to enjoy every moment of your life with Courtney. I’m proud to see the man you’ve become.
Courtney, I want to tell you today that as much as a Marriage is valued and worth, it is my 2nd Priority in life. Number one is and has always been, my Faith, because without faith and the Presence of God in my life, I am nothing, and therefore, my Marriage is nothing. So, Keep the Faith, and by that I mean, be patient with Brandon. I’m overjoyed to welcome you into our family.
Brandon & Courtney, Happiness and Peace also come in behind Fulfillment... Fulfillment of Dreams, Fulfillment of Hope, Fulfillment of Obligation & Commitment; to God, to yourself, and most importantly, to each other. Love is Not something to be wished for, or upon someone… Rather, it is Cultivated and Sought; It is Offered and Grown.
Reality tells us that each of us is imperfect and we all know we don’t live in a perfect world… yet as Parents, that is precisely what we wish for our children, because we Love you more than we love Life itself.
Faith tells us that each of us are unique as children of God and we hope that our children grow up to live our values, yet as imperfect parents, we tell and teach you, “Do as I say, not as I do”. Bottom line, just know we Love you.
Brandon and Courtney, I’m here to tell you that today… at this moment, you may well be experiencing life’s best, and my only wish is that you realize and embrace it, demonstrate gratitude for it, and work with all your heart and souls to earn the right to hang on to it.
And speaking about children, all I can say is to let them live to at least sixteen before selling them… on the notion that Life is something to be Experienced, Shared, and Given Up; in exchange for Compassion, Humility, Understanding and Love. Did I say Humility?
Lastly; I want to share two words with you… Compromise and Tolerance. These words, if lived by you, will take you far in your relationship and Marriage; but always, they must be preceded and accompanied by FAITH and LOVE. And it’s worked for Kathy and me for 37 years.
Brandon & Courtney, may God Bless you as you begin your Married Life together. You really have no idea how much you are loved.
So, Let’s Raise our glasses in a TOAST! To Brandon & Courtney, two Souls with one Heart, forever in Love.
And now, it’s time for this Old Fart to sit down.
In the Big Picture, we truly need to be regularly reminded of life’s fleeting presence, the delicate balance between love and friendship, the incredibly important need for responsibility and integrity in all facets of life. And, most critically, the role and fragility of Love.
Love is indeed a precious Melody. Let each of us sing it from the very fabric of our being and let it flow from our hearts and souls. Be well.
Enjoy these Melodies of Love: