I was shocked and horrified like everyone in learning about the massacre in New Zealand this week. The spilling of hate across international borders is now unfortunately a familiar story line. In my mind, I can balance this with the witnessing of love I find in marrying people.
Terrorism hit a new low this week. The live streaming of the massacre in New Zealand struck a common chord of disgust and horror across the world. We saw that hate has no boundaries as an Australian took the lives of devoted peaceful people. It is easy to feel despair in such moments. How can one reconcile this?
These thoughts whirled in my mind as I conducted two wedding ceremonies yesterday. I was reminded of a truth by the end of the day.
The first wedding was at a private home. Ted and Carole met and fell in love three years ago. Both are divorced and this was love re-found for both of them. After a divorce, many feel that they may never find love again. To me second weddings are really special because it is the re-kindling of hope and love.
Ted, who is 68, and I were waiting for Carole, who is 57, to finish getting ready. We chatted about travel and our prostate cancer experiences. I get into some of the most interesting talks sometimes.
It was extremely touching to see Ted tear up during the ceremony. It was so beautiful. I needed to pause to compose myself. Love had crossed the age boundary.
My next wedding was two hours later at a small community centre. It was another intimate low key affair. Matthew and Fatima just wanted their close friends and family there. The wording for their ceremony was very similar to Ted and Carole’s and it had the same effect. Matthew is Catholic and Fatima follows Islam. Love, in this case, had crossed a cultural boundary.
In both cases, I said the following, which is so true:
The marriage ceremony has been an important feature across nearly every culture, religion, generation, and society. Despite all of our differences, love is what we all share. It’s the great unifier – our one universal truth. That no matter who we are, where we’ve come from, what we believe, we know this one thing: love is what we’re doing right. That’s why you both are standing here. We have all loved in our lifetimes, and in this moment, we’re reminded that the ability to love is the very best part of our humanity.
That is how I reconcile the hate and fear – the horrors of terrorism – by bringing hope instead of despair. I remind myself to love and care despite all our differences.