This will be my last post about our wedding which was held on Saturday, March 12th. I hope you have enjoyed reading some of the readings from our wedding, and I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the pictures from our special day.
Today I will be sharing pictures of our reception which was held at our house. Most of you know that our house has sold and we will soon be moving into a rental as we begin building our saltbox. Knowing that this would be our last big event in this house did make me a little sad, but knowing that it was our wedding reception made me very happy. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to this chapter of our lives in this house.
The writing that I will be sharing with you today is entitled Both Sides Now. I wrote this writing to read to Jeff during our ceremony. When I gave it the title Both Sides Now, I really had no reason to do so. Jeff and I had been talking about the song by Joni Mitchell when I began writing this and when I saved the document, I just used that as the title. I did reference the song in the writing once, but other than Jeff, I am sure no one caught it.
However, now that the wedding is finished, I think the title is very fitting. I can truly see life from both sides now. I can see life as a single person wishing I could meet that special someone, I can see life as a person just entering into a new relationship and hoping that everything works out. I can see life as a person in a committed relationship with no real legal security, and now I can see life as a legally married person with all the rights and benefits that come with that. It is like a line of the song says, "Something's gained in living everyday." Looking back on it now, I would not have missed one of those stages for anything, because each stage helped to create the person I am today, the person Jeff is today, and the couple we are today. When we see all sides of life and realize that every stage is part of the master plan and we realize that it is our job to accept God's plan and His will for our lives, we will have more peace and as you have heard many times and will hear many more times, PEACE MATTERS!
Both Sides Now
Thirteen and a half years! That is roughly 5,133.5 days! Isn’t that amazing? It has taken us 13 ½ years to get to this point in our lives. However, in so many ways it seems as if it were just yesterday that I saw you for the first time. I spent a big portion of our lives together feeling upset and bitter that we did not have the right to enjoy what we are doing today, but now standing here and knowing that we can actually legally get married, I realize that it was always intended to be this way because as you have understood right along with me, there are many valuable lessons to learn while we wait for something to happen. I truly do not believe that we would appreciate the privilege that we have been given today if it had come easily to us. I do not believe that we would value each other as much as we do had we been able to get married after two years of being together or even after ten years of being together. This event in our lives, just like so many past events and so many future events to come, came to us at the perfect time and I am so very thankful for that.
As I thought about what I would say to you today, my mind was filled with a million thoughts and I was concerned that I would leave something out, so I apologize in advance for my long windedness. From the second I saw you I knew that we would spend our lives together. I know people say that all the time, but I felt it deep in my soul. The world shifted on August 19, 2002 when our paths finally crossed. All the experiences we had before that date were preparing us for our meeting. We truly had to be in the perfect place at the perfect time to meet, and I will spend the rest of my life being amazed by that miracle. It is the miracles of this life that help to keep us moving forward. We have seen many miracles unfold in our lives together, and I know we have many more miracles to witness.
I read a quote the other day by James Dean and he said, “Only the gentle are ever really strong.” When I read this quote, I thought to myself, “That describes Jeff perfectly.” The world has taught us that it is the loud and forceful people who are the strongest, but that is a complete fabrication. It is the gentle people; the kind-hearted, generous, sympathetic, and loving people of this world who are the strongest, and you possess all of those qualities. I still sometimes wonder what I ever did to deserve to have such a wonderful person in my life, but I am so happy and grateful to get to be a recipient of your love.
As I think back over the years now, I can see how every event, the good and the bad, the joy and the pain, the triumphs and the tragedies, has been made so much better or so much easier to endure with you by my side. We have overcome many obstacles, and we have endured many dark days to get to this wonderful bright day. It is like Dolly Parton once said, “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” We have seen rain, but we have seen rainbows too. And on this day and all the days that follow I choose to focus on the positive things in life. Sure, we will experience trials, sorrow, and pain, but now we know that we can still have peace and contentment, even in the face of adversity, because we know where true peace comes from.
When I think about the Dan and Jeff of 2002 I can hardly believe that we were once those people. We have changed and grown so much in the years that we have been together. We are stronger, we have more faith and we have more hope. We know who we are and we know where we want to go. You have taught me so much over the years and I hope that I have taught you a little along the way too. My grandma once said to me, “You can never love anyone until you first love yourself.” You have helped me love who I am. Seeing myself through your eyes has helped me realize that I am a good person and I do deserve to be loved and to be happy with the way my life is and that in itself is the greatest gift that we can give others and I thank you for giving me that gift.
As I stand here today about to commit my life to you I can’t help but feel as if this is the dividing point in our lives together. Sure we have been committed to each other long before today, but now in some ways it is a different form of commitment. It is a commitment that is recognized by the law. It is a commitment that our friends and family can be witness to, and it is a commitment that is also recognized and blessed by God and no one will ever be able to convince me otherwise. Because where there is love there is God and where there is God there is love. As I stand here today I am able to see love from both sides now. I am able to see the joy of love, and I am able to see the sorrow that comes with loving, but I whole-heartedly choose to continue to love because without love we truly have nothing. Love truly does conquer all and love wins every single time.
As you know, I am not the most demonstrative person and I may not show my love in the same ways that many people do, but if my love for you could be visible for just a second it would fill this room and we would all be swimming in my love for you. It is that big and it is that real. That is the thing about love, we may not be able to see it, but we can feel it and I hope you never doubt for a second just how much I love, respect, cherish, and admire you. There is no better person on this earth than you and I hope you always feel the love that I have for you.
As we begin the next leg of our journey together as a married couple, I am filled with anticipation. I truly cannot wait to see what God has in store for us. I know that we will be amazed and delighted. I know that in the twilight of our lives together that we will sit and look back on everything we have experienced together and it will all make perfect sense and we will see just how the plan of our lives unfolded right before our feet. When the time comes for us to be parted on this earth we will know deep in our hearts that it is not the end of our love for each other. Actually it will just be the beginning because love never dies and love endures all things.
Well, I guess I should wrap this up, but I wanted to add a couple more things that I always want you to remember. Always remember that nothing is impossible. We may think that the valley is too deep or the mountain is too high, but when we follow our hearts and let God guide our steps we can do anything. If it is meant for us, it will come to us. It really is that simple. My final thought for today came to me just recently when I was reading about Joey and Rory Feek. Rory said something about his wife that really struck a chord with me. I am paraphrasing the quote a little bit, but I want you to always remember this, “I might have the words to bring characters to life, but you have the character that brings my words to life. Thank you for bringing character to my life and thank you for being the person you are. Your love and respect for me has brought so much peace into my life and PEACE MATTERS!
Jeff's friend Jennifer who read one of the readings during the ceremony
Our friend, Toni, who also read one of the readings at our ceremony
Our sister-in-law Amy and our niece Katie
Our nephew Jake being Jake = )
Our friend Diane who read one of the readings and played the flute at the ceremony, Jeff's brother Greg and Jeff's friend Lynda who was one of our readers
My brother Andrew reading his speech to me
Jeff's friend Amanda reading her speech to him
Me introducing my friend Jerrah
Jerrah reading her speech to me