Monday, September 01, 2008

Rainbow Celebration

At least part of what adds the salt to life is that it's so darn unpredictable. For most of my life I could never have predicted that this very straight, once-upon-a-time-evangelical guy would attend a Gay wedding, and, in my wildest dreams, I certainly wouldn't have imagined being more than a casual bystander at such an event. However, August 23rd found me as more than a distant observer as I helped to very happily and proudly escort my daughter-bride down the aisle to take part in a ceremony featuring two brides and no grooms.

Not only was it a Gay wedding but a [mostly] Jewish one too. And funky! The rabbi sported dreadlocks, and most of the wedding party, including moi, wore Converse sneakers, green and pink being the main colours of choice: mine being bright green. To mottlicize the crew even further so to speak, there were two people of African birth present: one black and one white. Another unique feature was the venue: very rural, complete with rustic buildings, far far far from the madding crowd.

While it was the most unique wedding that I have ever attended and surely ever will attend, it was perhaps the most magical and delightful one as well. The Jewish-style ceremony under a chuppah (canopy) which itself stood under the shade of a willow tree by the Crowe River was charming, memorable and endearing. There was singing and impromptu dancing during the actual ceremony and a horah shortly after.

Every word and deed was weighed and considered, even the chuppah on which was written words and wishes from many close friends. This extraordinarily meaningful ceremony included the traditional (in Jewish weddings) seven blessings. The rabbi gave the first two and the last two blessings; in between Cuppa, I and the other bride's mother were given the opportunity to say one. Mine was quite the task as the girls asked me to pronounce the blessing in both Hebrew and English. I certainly could have done much better with the Hebrew part of it, but everyone had kind words for my attempt regardless. Somehow saying "Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melech ha-olam, yotzer ha-adam," with the proper Hebrew inflections proved not to be all that easy for this poor decrepit brain. Those words can be translated several ways, but this was the English equivalent that I was also asked to speak: "Ineffable Breath of Life, giving life to each human being."

I have been thinking over this past week and a bit of how meaningful the ceremony was. With few exceptions, we straight folk all get married, and while we all have greatly appreciated our fine ceremonies, there is a certain expectation and familiarity to the proceedings that we might be tempted to take at least somewhat for granted. But when the girls, with the help of their rabbi, had to pull together a Gay and Jewish ceremony with the occasional Christian thread, they truly had to think it through from the beginning to end. As a result, they composed something both beautiful and incredibly meaningful to both them and the witnesses. Somehow this non-standard union (so far) seemed to make everyone stop and think and perhaps appreciate it all a little bit more.

While I had never thought to be a thrilled participant at a Gay-Jewish-Country wedding, that’s what I was. How I have changed and how life has changed me! While I was once a sincere but na├»ve young man with all of the relevant answers about earth and heaven (or so I thought), I now admit to knowing little. But I go with the flow a lot better now and have learned to be much less judgemental and much more inclusive. And so I revelled in the beauty and wonder of this union between two loving young people, and I laughed and cried … and sang and danced.

19 comments:

KGMom said...

Oh AC--you bring tears to my eyes. Tears of joy for your daughter and your family. Tears of joy for your life journey that leads you to celebrate the mystery of love in all its expressions.
Tears of sorrow for the people who would still deny our gay family members, friends and acquaintances, the joy of marriage.
Tears of frustration at the way this issue has become an irrelevant (at best), hurtful (at worst) political football in U.S. politics.
Thanks for sharing!

Ruth said...

My brother-in-law is gay and is estranged from all the family except for us. His life is most unhappy. We had dinner with him this weekend and while I may not agree with his choices, I can accept and love him for the person he is. Your line, "I now admit to knowing little" is so true. Those who spout the words and judgements know so little as well.
Your daughter is fortunate to have a loving family.

womaninawindow said...

And how I like you all the more for it.

Love is love no matter the colour. Always a rainbow.

megz_mum said...

A lovely post - I love how Cuppa calls the two D2 and D3 as well.

Amanda said...

Congratulations to the happy couple!
I wish them nothing but the very best for the future.
l,
Amanda x

ChrisB said...

That was a beautiful post. I saw the lovely photos over at Cuppa's. I wish them a long and happy life together.

Dale said...

History will show Canada among the first to recognize gay marriage. My church (United Church of Canada) acknowledges the sanctity of Love in all its forms and regularly performs gay and lesbian ceremonies.

Blessings and happiness to the newlyweds!

Heather said...

Sounds delightful! And I only wish that all of us could get more mellow and open-minded as we mature as you have. Thanks for setting a good example!

-epm said...

Congratulations!

Best wishes to everyone... I'm so happy for the couple and even happier that you're happy. (I hope your kids appreciate what a great dad they have.)

Donna said...

I also, have a cousin who's son is gay.....he's Such a Wonderful kid! It's not About gender...it's about LOVE....You're so blessed!hughugs

Judy said...

You are a fabulous example of a loving father.

Blessings to your family!

Ginnie said...

What a wonderful post, AC. I can relate to you so much...the older I get (and the more I keep an open mind) the more I realize how little I actually do know. Love is love and it comes in so many forms. We need to grab on tight and hold it, wherever it comes from.
I am praying that our country (USA)
can hold back their petty prejudices and elect Obama...he seems to me to be our only hope now.

momto3cubs said...

Wow, that does sound different! I've been a very conservative Christian all my life. I'm trying to picture the ceremony you described... ;)

Lorna said...

tears from me too. Best wishes to the happy women.

Gina said...

Congratulations to the happy couple!

I second all of the comments above!

Pearl said...

Sounds marvelous. That's life alright. Got it figured out. Wait a minute...new data alert.

Janet said...

Bless them and you too. It sounds like a wonderful time.
You're so right - I knew just about everything when I 20 and I find at 46 that it's not so much.

Dora said...

This is one of my very favorite post of yours....because it really talks about who you are within.

A father who loves his daughter....the rest of that is kinda secondary.

I still thank you for sharing with us though and I look forward to more pics.

Ginger said...

The thing I just LOVE about this post is that your girls--all of them--have parents who love and support them without "howevers."

No, wait. There was another thing I loved about this post--your willingness to be open and saying "I don't know as much as I used to."