Remarks at the recent wedding of a son and daughter-in-law.
The Irish have a saying: “A son is a son ’til he takes a wife; but a daughter’s a daughter all of your life.”
I don’t look upon this occasion as the loss of a son, but rather as the gain of a beautiful daughter.
A line from one of the songs we sang this morning caught my eye: “Catch me up in your story. Catch me up in your story.”
We are gathered here in this place on this day to celebrate Joshua and Kerra, the beginning of their new life together. Some of you have come from close by; others have come from far away. There are those from New England and those from Taiwan; those from Connecticut and those from Georgia; those from Hartford and those from Dallas. As individuals you hail from far and wide; but as a group you have assembled here, if only for a short while, to show your love and support for Joshua and Kerra.
Some of you I have met before; some of you I wouldn’t recognize if I passed you in the street. Some of you I know intimately well; others, hardly at all. Yet one thing I can say with confidence about each and every one of you: that you bring your unique life story to this place.
Each of us is part of an extended family of some sort, and each family has its own set of stories to tell. As for me, I could tell you some pretty good ones. I’m certain that you know some pretty good ones, too.
Stories are the glue that binds folks together in relationship. Some stories are funny, some are sad; some are uplifting, and others are tragic. Stories are the narratives that give structure to our lives. Without stories our existence would become a mere calendar of daily appointments and activities. It is through our stories that we come to know one another; it is through stories that we invite one another into our personal lives, to become a part of them.
Today I was thinking of a family photograph, one in which Josh and Ian are little boys, sitting on the porch of their grandparents’ house. Josh is sitting in Ian’s lap; Ian’s arms encircle his brother’s waist. Their hair sparkles in the sun, their eyes twinkle and there are big smiles on their faces.
What you don’t see in the photo are other sets of arms, the ones holding both of them, the arms of their mother and me, the arms of their Grandma and Grandpa — arms which encircle and hold, arms that shelter and protect, arms that offer comfort and security. Those are the arms which they depended upon for support when they were growing up.
And now for Josh and Kerra there will be new sets of arms, arms to have and to hold, arms to shelter and protect, arms to offer comfort and security. Two in relationship are better than one; for if they fall, the one will lift the other up.
Most of us will not remember what was said here this day, but all of us will recall this day, the day when Joshua and Kerra invited us, their dear friends and families, to gather together to celebrate this new beginning of their story. Through the vows they have taken they have invited each to be caught up in the story of the other; and we who have been caught up in their story will always be a part of it, and a part of them.