I’ve avoided this subject because I can’t write from personal experience.
To date, I’ve married two couples. I know it’s early, but they’re both still together, and I get a good vibe from each of them. As I stood up there and officiated each ceremony, I saw the way the couples looked at each other. The feeling of love and the energy they exuded were intense. The words that were spoken were real and heartfelt. These couples honored me by allowing me to play a major role in one of the most important days of their lives. On each of those respective days, I told the story of the couples as I knew it, and I was proud to do so. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, tears were shed, and laughs were shared. I’d put a lot of work into it, rehearsed lord knows how many times, and my efforts were rewarded by each of the couples telling me how happy they were with the ceremony.
After my sister’s ceremony, I was walking on air. I’d never officiated before, and despite my initial nervousness, the laughs came when I expected them to, and even when I didn’t expect them to. There were touching and sentimental moments during the ceremony, and after it was over, I was approached by a family friend as I waited in the line for the outdoor bar. We exchanged pleasantries, and he asked me if I wrote the whole thing myself. As much as I wanted to tell him that I did, I knew I couldn’t lie. I’d written the story of the couple myself, but the rest of the script had been produced by a script generator. The words were beautiful, and the quotes illustrated the points I was trying to make, but they were not my own.
“How do you know so much about love and marriage?” he asked.
“I don’t,” I replied.
My view on love can be summed up by the following sentence: I believe in love, but I’m not sure that everyone gets a shot at it. I’ve been to quite a few weddings, and while I’ve had a good feeling about each of the couples, I’ve also experienced a flicker of worry. Maybe worry isn’t the right word, but I’m concerned. I’m not concerned for the couple, but for myself. I don’t need to get married to have a happy and fulfilling life, but I’d like to have it as an option. Marriage seems so unobtainable, like such an abstract concept. I want it to feel like something that could actually happen to me. I’m like the dog that barks at the door when their owner is taking a shower. I didn’t necessarily want to go in the bathroom, but now that the door is closed, I’m going to bark until it’s open again.
At the second wedding I officiated, more than one friend told me they were surprised I didn’t cry. I’ve thought about that statement for some time, and the best answer I can come up with, aside from the fact that I was focused on the job I had to do, was that even though I was speaking the words and looking right at the couple, the words didn’t ring true for me. I’d never experienced love, at least I’ve never been in love with someone, and I do worry that it won’t ever happen. I don’t need marriage, but I want to know what that feeling is like. I want to know that it exists, that it’s real, and that I have a shot at it. With each passing year, it seems to get farther away. My skeptical mind tells me that it’s never going to happen, and I can’t say that I don’t believe it in my worst moments.
It’s been a weird year with regards to dating, and for now, I’m taking some time off. I’ll take until 2018 to recharge the batteries, and then maybe I’ll get back to it. As I wrote earlier, I’m feeling pretty spent from a series of ambivalent romantic entanglements I’ve been involved in, and I’m ready to focus on friends, family, and writing for the remainder of the year. I know it will all fly by, and I also know that I don’t mind spending the holidays alone. I’ve gotten quite good at it, and the questions about my employment always bothered me more anyways.
Love is the answer, but for so many of us, it’s the biggest question in our lives. Will we find it? If so, when will it happen? Will we find love with someone we already know, or with someone we’ve yet to meet? I can’t answer any of these questions, but I think I can say with some degree of certainty that I haven’t met the person yet. I now have a better idea of what I’m looking for in a potential partner, and while I’m not sure I’ll ever find the one I love, I’m guardedly optimistic about the future. I know that there is love in my life, that there are friends and family who wouldn’t hesitate to help me or take my call in a time of need, so maybe I do know what love is, just not romantic love. Maybe that’s enough for now. Maybe it’s enough forever.
Love is a brilliant thing. If you do manage to find it amidst all the chaos of life, hold onto it forever, and don’t let it fall into disrepair. If you ever get bored or complacent, think of the all the people out there who never do manage to find it, who will never experience it and know what it feels like. I hope I’m not one of them, but I can’t say with certainty that I’m not. I know that I need to keep putting myself out there, and that I need to keep myself open to the idea. I need to remember that I could win that lottery someday, and that maybe it won’t pass me by. Thanks for reading.