Monday, June 28, 2010

More of the Ushy Gushy stuff

Angie over at One Cat Per Person wrote about that one big topic the other day. Yup, its love, folks! I wrote a little bit about love, she wrote a little bit about love, Meg writes a lot bit about love... ok, everyone writes about love. Cuz come on! Its LOVE for crying out loud!

But before we get going, can I first just say that love is the best? Really. Its amazing. And I hope we never fully understand it and that it remains this wonderful mystery that we are always writing songs/poems/blog posts about.

Love means so many different things to different people. And to the same person it can mean different things at different times. Its this slippery little bugger that just won't sit still and won't be boxed in. Plus, our cultural notions of love have evolved over time and are still evolving. All this to say, omg, love is huge and amazing and crazy and powerful. I can't even touch such a subject, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try.

Because we are starting to write our ceremony and I'm starting to form my vows in my head. So what do I want to say in those vows about love? What do we want our ceremony to feel like? What readings do we want to include?

I'm trying to balance my need for honesty (aka sounding like a downer) and my need to have a meaningful, thoughtful ceremony that is going to have people passing those tissues! (It is literally one of my goals to make everybody cry. And laugh and smile and think, too. But cry. Is that mean or whats with that?)

So far, here are some key thoughts that we want to focus our ceremony on:
  • The idea that we've been together for a long time already (will be 6 years!) and are solidifying a commitment to each other and that we will continue to grow together.
  • The family and community that helped make us who we are is now needed to continue supporting us as we form our new 'baby family' together.
  • That a wedding does not make a marriage. Lots of hard work and love make a marriage.
  • That we love each other! Yay! And that love is, indeed, the best.
I've been browsing tons of poems, stories, essays, quotes, anything really to try and find some delicious readings for our wedding. The following are some that I've pulled together that I enjoy. I'm sure you've seen some of these before but hopefully there is something new in here.

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility, it is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity, in freedom. In the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting as it is now. For relationships, too, must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides. One must accept the security of the winged life, of the ebb and flow of intermittency.

-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take.If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.

- excerpt from The Irrational Season, Madeleine L'Engle

To love very much is to love inadequately: We love- That is all.
Love cannot be modified without being nullified.
Love is a short word but it contains everything.
Love means the body, the soul, the life, the entire being.
We feel love as we feel the warmth of our blood, we breathe love as we breathe the air, we hold it in ourselves as we hold our thoughts.
Nothing more exists for us.
Love is not a word.
It is a wordless state indicated by four letters.
- Guy De Maupassant

We may include an excerpt from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry. Its chapter 21 where the little prince and the fox discuss what ‘tamed’ means. Its a cute story with a cute message and cute characters...and something else cute too, I'm sure! We'll edit it down to be a bit shorter, but with the same gist.

Finally, have you all seen the ceremony that Peonies and Polaroid’s wrote? Magic. Just beautiful magic. And I’m pretty sure we are going to take a lot of inspiration from their ceremony.

Specifically, I’m in love with these three sections:

Throughout time countless millions of people from many cultures, religions and societies have gathered among friends and families to celebrate their love for one and other and their commitment to each other. Each culture has symbols and rituals to celebrate marriage from the Japanese tea ceremony to the Jewish tradition of breaking the glass, a rich tapestry of traditions from around the world combine to symbolise the meaning of marriage. And today we should try to remember that a wedding is a symbol, a beautiful, heartfelt and meaningful symbol but a symbol nonetheless. This ceremony is not magic, it will not create a relationship that does not already exist and has not already been celebrated in all the commitments The Boy and Peonies have made to each other, both large and small, in the days since they first met and recognized their connection to one another. It is a symbol of how far they have come together and a symbol of the promise that they will make to each other to continue to live their lives together and to love each other solely and above all others.


Peonies and The Boy, the symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this - is my husband, this - is my wife.


No one but you can declare yourselves married. You have begun it here today in speaking your vows before your family and friends and you will do it again in the days and years to come, standing by each other, sharing all the sweet and the bitter of life. Each tender act, each loving word will be the declaration of what was made here today.

Phew! Whole lotta realistic, yet ushy gushy love going on! Ya?

Peace, all!


  1. the little prince? what an awesome idea. I love love the selections you posted above as well. I am thinking about using a line from the Tiem Travelers Wife but I can't tell if its lame or not. I say no and hope everyone else does too :)

  2. Oh! Do share the line from the Time Traveler's Wife! I absolutely LOVED that book. Almost a bit too much, I think. It took me a few days to get over when I finished it!

  3. This is so great - thanks for posting these. I'm getting teary eyed from several of them, and can't wait to begin working on our ceremony. I love the Madeleine L'Engle excerpt

    I'd love to hear the Time Traveler's Wife line as well!

  4. Jen & SMK-

    "We laugh and laugh, and nothing can ever be sad, no one can be lost, or dead, or far away: right now we are here, and nothing can mar our perfection, or steal the joy of this perfect moment." - The Time Traveler's Wife

    what do you think??

  5. "To love very much is to love inadequately: We love- That is all." Love the passages you chose to focus on and your head is certainly in the right place with what you want to focus on for the ceremony...I feel the same, that I balance too much honesty with my ushy-gushiness, {doesn't it seem like 12 year old's are ushy-gushy enough for all of us?}

    I don't know if you like Rumi {Sufi poet}, but he's one of my favorites:

    "What was said to the rose that made it open
    was said to me here in my chest"
    "You've heard it said there's a window
    that opens from one mind to another.
    but if there's no wall, there's no need
    for fitting the window, or the latch.
    A thousand half-loves
    must be forsaken to take
    one whole heart home."

    I also love the author Anne Lamott SO we'll be reading something from that.

    LOVE Lisa's bit from The Time Traveler's Wife, that is a GREAT book.

  6. Aaaaaaaaannnnnddd... consider this post bookmarked!

    Great readings and love that second bullet. That's a focus of ours too. It's not just us, but the community that helped create us and brought us together. Tis a thing of beauty, I say!

    And Peonies ceremony is freaking amazing. I get you with the whole let's make em cry deal. I want to evoke emotion in our guests and part of that is helping them to feel like they are part of the love Josh and I share.

  7. Very great readings. Crafting a wedding ceremony that focuses on the realities and mushies of love is a difficult process, but you've got great inspiration to get you there. Finding the balance is key.

    I think it's a goal of mine to get the folks crying as well. I don't think it's mean, but maybe a little devious.