Sunday, October 31, 2010

A number of people told us how much they enjoyed the poems and songs at our wedding in October. We'd like to share them with you here, including the opening remarks by Whit and the amazing toast by Cheng-Hsi's father.

Whit's opening remarks.

Welcome friends and family to this glorious day here in Boulder, Colorado. We all want to acknowledge the parents of the bride, Sobee and James, and those of the groom, Bob and Ginny. And of course, this could not occur without the entire cast of family and friends.

This is a great day. Let the celebration begin.

The great German philosopher Goethe said “Love is an ideal thing, marriage is a real thing”. Today we gather here to witness the marriage vows of Nicholas Andrew Dronen and Cheng-Hsi Ho. This marriage, my friends, is the real thing. It is no accident.

A very smart individual, Dr. Albert Einstein, commented: “Graviation can not be held responsible for people falling in love”. This marriage is far more profound than the passive forces on this earth. Nick and Cheng-Hsi – their relationship – is far more stunning than chance.

Nick met Ms. Cheng-Hsi Ho relatively recently. They had a very comfortable friendship. One evening my wife Mary and I had a dinner with the now bride and groom. We were at our home, and could recognize something very special between these two. Nick, at that time, did not. Yes, he thought Cheng-Hsi was a great woman and a fine friend.

But give Nicholas credit. He dug deep (at times, over the years, we weren’t sure he would or could), and he recognized that Cheng-Hsi was a really special woman. Someone he could love, cherish, and most importantly, share his life with. This is Nick's part on this specialday. He recognized Cheng-Hsi Ho. He saw deeper than just the everyday activities, the meals they were sharing. If this would not have happened – recognition – we would not be gathered here today.

Cheng-Hsi as well had her part to play to bring us all together today. Recognition of Nick of course was essential to walk the path of marriage. But let’s look closely at Ms Cheng-Hsi Ho. Cheng means receiving something old and making it better. Hsi means happiness. I have studied Chinese philosphy and the traditional medicine of China for my entire adult life. However, I don’t have command of the language, so please, give me some leeway here in my interpretations. With Cheng, we are talking about a process of transformation ... of taking the routine daily activities of life, sometimes not all that glamorous, and making them into glorious events. Making better old routines, old patterns of behaviour.

Cheng-- receiving, transforming. Hsi-- Happiness. Who could ask for anything more?

And that is where we, the community of friends and family, come in. We have the job of recognizing the marriage of Nick Dronen and Cheng-Hsi Ho. It is our job, as their friends and family, to witness the commitments and the vows that we are about to hear. And we need to embrace them, in support of our dear friends. Because, God knows, there will be times they may forget how happy they are in this moment Let’s make sure we remind them, and reflect this back to them, to support them, to nourish their marriage.

Interestingly, Nicholas, from the Greek language, comes from two root words – Victory and People. We are the community – The People – and this sure feels like Victory to me.

May Nicholas and Cheng-Hsi succeed beyond our and their wildest dreams. The great Chinese philosopher, Lao Tze, says: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” We have the entire Universe supporting us. There is nothing to worry about.

Friends, let us continue with the Celebration. I call forth my wife, Mary Saunders, to read several poems.

Poetry read by Mary Saunders.

I cursed the rain for
pounding upon my roof and driving
away sleep.

I cursed the wind
for ravaging my garden.

Then you entered; and I gave thanks
to the rain because you must put off
your wet dress; and I gave thanks to
the wind
that he came and blew out my lamp.

-- Chang Wu-Chien

O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames.
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
and a temple for idols and the pilgrim's Ka’ba,
and the tables of the T
orah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love's camels take,
that is my religion and my faith.

-- Ibn Arabi

The TrueLove

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testament of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals,

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them,

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will not come so grandly,
so Biblically,
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love,

so that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t

because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years, you don’t want to any more, you’ve
simply had enough
of drowning, and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness,
however fluid and however
dangerous, to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

-- David Whyte

Poety read by Jeff Pontillo

You know, my Friends, how bravely in my House
For a new Marriage I did make Carouse;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

For "Is" and "Is-NOT" though with Rule and Line,
And "UP-AND-DOWN" by Logic I define,
Of all that one should care to fathom, I
Was never deep in anything but -- Wine.

-- Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam

The song performed by Wendy Lewis (vocals, guitar), Kitty Jenson (vocals), and Ted Dronen (guitar) was "True Love Will Find You in The End," composed by the gifted songwriter Daniel Johnston:

True love will find you in the end
You'll find out just who was your friend
Don’t be sad, I know you will,
But don’t give up until
True love finds you in the end.

This is a promise with a catch
Only if you're looking will it find you
‘Cause true love is searching too
But how can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light?
But don’t give up until
True love finds you in the end.

Here's a version performed by Beck (Amazon, Nick's web server). I encourage you to buy the MP3 from your favorite download site.

Finally, the magnificent toast by Cheng-Hsi's father, James Ho.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am Cheng-Hsi's father. Please look at me carefully. Today is a big day. It is also an historical moment. We are so glad to attend this wedding ceremony. Congratulations! Nick, you are so lucky to marry my daughter, Cheng-Hsi. She is very kind, diligent, and humble. Also she is as beautiful as an angel. You are now building a home, a sweet home, and a family. I love her so deep and so much. She is my heart. Please love one another ever and forever. Well, if i were President Obama, I would speak fluent English. If you do not understand what I say, please pretend to understand. Ginny! Bob! I really love my daughter. Please love her as your own. Nick! I trust you and believe you are a good husband. And certainly Cheng-Hsi is a good wife. I promise you, Nick! You have something to do, whatever that is, to contribute to your family, society, nation, and all mankind. That is my wish. God bless you! Thank you.