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Congratulations Kate and Kevin

Kate and Kevin Chasse, husband and wife!

This is the ceremony we used to wed Kate and Kevin :)

After the processional the wedding party is in front, facing forward.

Welcome family and friends. We are gathered here, in these beautiful Georgia mountains, to join Kate Elizabeth Daiger and Kevin Robert Chasse in a life of mutual commitment and sacred matrimony. We celebrate with them the serendipity that has brought them together and rejoice with them in the good fortune to be brought to the place where they now stand. Surrounded by the love of this happy bride and groom, we give thanks for this opportunity to be with them on their special day.

Please be seated.

There’s no way to adequately describe how excited, happy, and privileged I feel today. I remember vividly the day Kate called to tell me that Kevin had proposed. I literally leapt with joy! More than once. Like many of you, I’ve been able to watch Kate and Kevin grow their relationship, working together to build a foundation upon which they might establish a life together.

Seven years ago, they meet in an unfamiliar city. Although they were far from most of their family and friends, they found each other, and I think each knew there was a very special bond forming. As time moved on, their lives saw many changes: jobs have come and gone, they’ve moved from place to place, and relationships have waxed and waned. Through these struggles, their love triumphed and grew stronger, eventually leading them here, to Gerogia. In Atlanta they have flourished together, and have even made the first addition to their happy family: an adorable, rambunctious puppy named Molly!

Now they’re ready to “take the leap” together and start building on the strong foundation they’ve laid. I was reflecting on why they call it “taking a leap,” and found this passage from Madeline L’Engle:

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation.
(from “The Irrational Season”, by Madeleine L’Engle)

Loving another more than you love yourself enables a person to take this leap with abandon and with joy.

Kate and Kevin, marriage is perhaps the greatest and most challenging adventure of human relationships. No ceremony can create your marriage, only you can do that by building on the foundation you’ve laid: through dedication and perseverance, through tenderness and laughter, and through tears of happiness as well as sadness. During your long journey together you will learn and re-learn many things: to forgive, to appreciate your differences, and to make important things matter while letting go of the rest.

Before this moment you have been many things to one another: acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after your vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife.
(from Union by Robert Fulghum)

Let’s begin. (or ad lib)

Kate, do you take Kevin to be your wedded husband and promise yourself to him? Do you pledge to love him, comfort him, and honour him; and forsaking all others remain loyal to him as long as you both shall live?
I do.

Kevin, do you take Kate to be your wedded wife and promise yourself to her? Do you pledge to love her, comfort her, and honour her; and forsaking all others remain loyal to her as long as you both shall live?
I do.

The wedding party turns to face their family and friends.

It is fitting that Kate and Kevin’s family and friends gather here to witness their marriage. Yet today you have come here not simply to witness, but to take part. Each of you represents not only yourself, but all of the people who have and will touch the lives of our bride and groom. Your support has helped their relationship to flourish, and the joy that you bring into their lives will help sustain them. Therefore I ask the community gathered today to speak out in support of this union.

Will all of you witnessing these promises surround this couple in love, offering to them the joys of your friendship? Will you do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage? If so, say “we will.”
We will.

Kate and Kevin have asked their friend Melissa to offer an inspirational reading.

This is Aristophanes’ tale of creation, chronicled by Plato.

Once upon a time, people were not born separate from each other. They were born entwined, kind of coupled with each other. So there were boys attached to boys, and there were girls attached to girls, and, of course, boys and girls together, in a wonderfully intimate ball. Back then we had eight limbs: there were four on top and four on the bottom. And you didn’t have to walk if you didn’t want to, you could roll, and roll we did. We rolled backwards and we rolled forwards, achieving fantastic speeds that gave us a kind of courage. And then the courage swelled to pride, and the pride became arrogance. And then we decided that we were greater than the Gods and we tried to roll up to heaven and take over. The gods, alarmed, struck back. And Zeus in his fury, hurled down lightning bolts and struck everyone in two, into perfect halves. So all of a sudden couples who’d been warm and tight and wedged together were now detached and alone and lost and desperate and losing the will to live. And the gods, seeing what they’d done, worried that humans might not survive or even multiply again, and of course they needed humans to give sacrifices and to pay attention to them. So the Gods decided on a few repairs.

Instead of heads facing backwards or out, they would rotate our heads back forward. They pulled our skin taught and knotted it right here at the belly-button. Genitalia, too, were moved to the front so if we wanted to, you know, we could. And most important, they left us with a memory. It was a longing for that original other half of ourselves. The boy or the girl who used to make us whole. And that longing is still so deep in all of us that it has been the lot of humans ever since to travel the world looking for our other half. And when one of us meets another we recognize each other right away, we just know this. We’re lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and we won’t get out of each other’s sight, even for a moment. These are people who pass their whole lives together, and yet if you ask them they could not explain what they desire of each other. They just – do.
(as retold in Desperately Seeking Symmetry by Radiolab, Season 9 Episode 5)

In celebration of their deep love, Kate and Kevin have prepared their own vows.

The bride and groom turn to face one another. Hold hands?

Kate reads her vows.

Kevin reads his vows.

May we please have the rings?

Craig gives Jed the rings.

In these rings is the symbol of unity, in which your lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever you go, may you always return to one another. May these circles evoke in one another the love for which all men and women yearn.

May these rings be blessed as a symbol of your unity and ever a reminder of the vows you have taken today and the promises you have made.

Kevin places the ring just past the first knuckle of Kate’s finger, repeating:
With all that I am, and all that I have, I give you this ring as an enduring symbol of my vows.
Kevin finishes placing the ring on her finger.

Kate places the ring just past the first knuckle of Kevin’s finger, repeating:
With all that I am, and all that I have, I give you this ring as an enduring symbol of my vows.
Kate finishes placing the ring on his finger.

Kate and Kevin, you have consented together to marriage before this community, pledged solemn vows, and declared your unity by each giving and receiving a ring. As you have been joined together in mutual esteem and devotion, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Those whom love has joined together, let no one put asunder. Congratulations, you may now kiss the bride!

Please rise as we offer a Native American blessing for the happy couple:

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no loneliness for you, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is one life before you. Go now to enter into the days of your togetherness and may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my great privilege to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Chasse.

1 comment My Life 06/27/2011 at 11:06 ET

The House on the Lake

Today I listened to a podcast episode of This American Life from away back in 2001 that was rebroadcast in February. The setup was great and it pulled me away from cleaning and laundry and FB and Yammer and everything else I was doing. For the first time in a while, I just sat in my house and listened to the radio (well, you know what I mean.)

The podcast description says, “Our entire show this week is one long story, sort of a real-life Hardy Boys mystery.” It lived up to the hype, and it fascinated me. Recently I’ve been trying to get ready to imitate my best friend Mike, who not so long ago went on a quest to rid himself of all the extra stuff in his life. Believe you me, there sure was a lot of it. The TAL story immediately finds these kids exploring an abandoned house, and they find all this stuff.

Well, most of my friends know that I don’t like to give away the ending of things, so I won’t say more about the story, but you really should listen to it. I think the other thing that really got me was the story made me think about my Grandmom’s house. I was thinking about that house just last weekend after realizing that my mom’s house really reminds me a lot of her mom’s house. Not in tangible, this-or-that-is-the-same kind of ways — it’s more subtle. Grandmom’s house was on a river; mom’s house is on a lake. We used to sit and eat outside on Grandmom’s porch; we sit and eat outside on mom’s porch. Grandmom’s house had wood-framed sliding-glass doors; mom’s house has wood-framed sliding-glass doors. Grandmom’s house had windows in the vaulted ceiling to let in extra light; mom’s house has windows in the vaulted ceiling to let in extra light. My sister didn’t see it, but my brother and I think it’s kind of spooky.

So I listened to this story and thought about Grandmom’s house. I was trying to remember a trip I took out there after she died because my mom was the primary executor of Grandmom’s estate. It was billed as a treasure hunt — I think Grandmom would have liked that — but it was just a time to be together, say goodbye to the house, and clean out some of the stuff. I don’t think we found one unexpected thing that could properly be called treasure, but it was nice to go there one last time.

I think my mom said that Grandmom’s house got torn down to make way for something bigger and better. That’s typical for her neighborhood, but the picture on Google Maps still has her house, which made me feel better.


Grandmom's House

Grandmom's House

Add comment My Life 07/10/2010 at 22:50 ET

We’ll March On

I was talking to Andrea the other day about Facebook posts and how they should be upbeat, relevent, and generally give people a chuckle. Therefore I’ll start off by saying that, although I’m only writing this so I can link to it from Facebook, I’m not actually writing it on Facebook and I think that makes it better and keeps me from being a hypocrite. (That’s a valid loophole, right?)

Grandpa and His Kids

Last weekend was tough, and I owe about 100 people a debt of gratitude. I’ll never even know all of their names, but I’ll always be grateful for the family, friends, and strangers that made saying goodbye to my Grandpa a beautiful experience. We were blessed to have pleasant weather and so much family (and friends we consider family) gather around us to say goodbye. Having so many people present showed a heartwarming amount of respect and love for Grandpa, enabled us to comfort and support each other, and connected us together as a family. The whole time, looking at all the pictures of his gigantic smile, I knew that, wherever he is, Grandpa must have been smiling down on us, filled with the love we were sharing.

Today I got to a song in my “New to Me” playlist that really summed-up the feelings I have been having. My Grandpa could be a difficult person sometimes, but he gave selflessly his whole life. I really believe, even in the midst of the worst arguments, that everything he did was motivated by genuine love for everyone he interacted with. One memory I was able to share with everyone was how he would grab on to your elbow when he had something to say – even if you would have rather politely excused yourself to another conversation. Even when that action was irritating, he was tangibly present in our lives. He never gave up his argument either, and although that may have revealed some stubbornness and pride, it also showed that he would never give up on you. He kept arguing because he kept caring enough to try and convince you.

Driving out to Florida National Cemetery was a lot more than I had even hoped it would be. It took a little bit to get there, but having a military honor guard make a final salute to someone who served his country so well was stirring. He wasn’t outwardly prideful of his rank or his military accomplishments, but I know Grandpa would be pleased to know that his sacrifice and hard work was honored. I remember the honor guard marching away before the pastor spoke and recalled when Grandmother and Grandpa took me to a military base to see a graduation ceremony and how Grandpa commented on the marching.

Although we may have to without him, I’m glad to say that we’ll march on. This brings me a mournful joy: I know that’s what he’d want us to do and I know we’ll carry him along with us.

For those days we felt like a mistake,
Those times when love’s what you hate,
Somehow we keep marchin on.
For those nights that I couldn’t be there,
I’ve made it harder to know that you know
That somehow we’ll keep movin on.

Theres so many wars we fought,
Theres so many things we’re not,
But with what we have
I promise you that we’re marchin on.
For all of the plans we made
There isn’t a flag I’d wave,
Don’t care where we’ve been,
I’d sink us to swim: we’re marchin on.

For those doubts that swirl all around us,
For those lives that tear at the seams,
We know we’re not what we’ve seen.

For this dance we move with each other,
There ain’t no other step
Than one foot right in front of the other.

There’s so many wars we fought,
There’s so many things we’re not,
But with what we have
I promise you that we’re marchin on.
For all of the plans we made
There isn’t a flag I’d wave,
Don’t care where we’ve been,
I’d sink us to swim: we’re marchin on.

Right, Right, Right, Right, Left
Marchin On

We’ll have the days we break
And we’ll have the scars to prove it.
We’ll have the bombs that we saved
And we’ll have the heart not to lose it.

For all of the times we stopped,
For all of the things I’m not.

You put one foot in front of the other.
You move like we ain’t got no other.
We go where we go – we’re marchin on.

There’s so many wars we fought,
There’s so many things we’re not,
But with what we have
I promise you that we’re marchin on.

Right, Right, Right, Right, Left
Marchin On

“Marchin On”
Waking Up
©Mosley Music Group

Add comment My Life 01/20/2010 at 19:12 ET

Congratulations Donna and Mike

Good evening.

A lot of people have been getting to know each other this weekend, and a common question has been “how do you know Donna?” or “how do you know Mike?” A lot of you may have heard that I’m Mike’s best friend – we met in 2nd grade. Some of you may have even heard a story about that fateful first meeting. I’m sure I don’t remember very much at all about second grade, so maybe Mike’s version is more accurate – and it’s definitely funnier – but I thought I’d take this opportunity to set the record straight.

In second grade my family moved from Columbia, PA to a new house about six miles down the road in Mountville. One of the big motivators for choosing our new house was getting into a better school district, so, right around Halloween, I started at Mountville Elementary. I’m sure it was a little overwhelming to be the new kid on the scene in the middle of the school year. Maybe I don’t remember all the details of how Mike and I first met, but I know there was a mix-up with a spelling test, I think someone was indeed in the wrong room, and there may have been some crying involved. What I do remember is that Mike helped me get assimilated into that new school and I barely remember a time of my life when he wasn’t my friend.

I think that story, if somewhat nostalgic, makes more sense than his version because it tells you a little about who Mike is. He’s a helper – always has been – who might be content to make his way, minding his own business, until he sees someone who needs a little assistance. That’s when he swoops into action, for a friend, for a stranger, or even for a foe, to lend a helping hand. He’s kind and generous and loyal, and much more like my brother than just a friend.

When he moved to Florida, Mike was trying to help me. We were both entering our 30’s and I think it seemed to him like we both needed a change-of-pace. When he got here he tried the dating scene for a while, but you could tell that he was just a little jaded. Then something changed: he met Donna. I could tell right away that something was different.

Donna turned out to be an amazing woman, a great new friend, and a wonderful partner for Mike. She’s smart, funny, open-minded, athletic, and really challenges Mike to be a better man. I hope they won’t be embarrassed to hear me say that finding someone good enough to present that challenge for Mike was a special find indeed. Donna is wise and insightful, fun and vivacious, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her. Mike’s been my surrogate brother for a long time and I’m excited that now Donna is my surrogate sister-in-law.

Mike’s been in my family for a long time. Now, in this place, filled with friends and family from Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, the Air Force, and places from across the country to across the globe, we are joined as a larger family. What’s brought us together is the love that Donna and Mike share.

Some of our friends from Florida have a habit of coming up with these cute little sayings. One of the ones we like to use when ribbing each other about marriage is, “forever is a long time.” There’s a good chance you’ve already heard someone say (or shout) it tonight. We all know that some marriages can face difficult times, but I know that Donna and Mike have the devotion to overcome any challenge. This is evident in the love they give to us and to each other – it will watch over them and see them through:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends.

I know Donna and Mike are ready for their forever together.

So please raise your glasses with me. Donna and Mike, on behalf of your family and friends: thank you for this beautiful party, thank you for bringing us together as your family, and thank you for the love you share with us. We wish you all the best in your life together. As you support and care for each other on your journey together, we look forward to following along on what’s sure to be exciting forever.

We love you. Best of luck. Congratulations!

2 comments My Life 10/24/2009 at 23:05 ET

What are We Against?

Life Light Up

I went to church this morning. I’ve been dabbling in going to church for a few years but it’s hard for me to find a place that I’m comfortable. I think part of the reason is that most people go to church as a family. That really came into focus for me when I saw that this church (which is for most intents and purposes new to me) offers counseling for “being single.” It even sounds strange to me as I write it now, but this morning I thought, “hmmm, yeah, that’s interesting.” The idea of being a single parishioner is all well and good, but actually showing up at the sanctuary by yourself is something else entirely.

The other challenge, of course, is finding a Christian community that’s inclusive for gays and lesbians. As I reach out into the community as a whole, I’m finding that my sexuality is once again much more “out there” (pardon the pun) than I would otherwise make it. I don’t want to go to a church that has pride flags in the sanctuary (that’s not what church is about). At the same time, I can’t be an active part of a congregation if I can’t tell people that I’m an artistic leader of the Orlando Gay Chorus.

This weekend, I’m pleased to say, there is increasing hope that the Church is coming around. On Friday, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted by at 66% margin to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy. The final decision is still up to individual congregations (as it should be) but the margin of approval among the church’s leadership, I think, is a fantastic sign.

The part of the article was the quote by one of the pastors: “We can learn not to define ourselves by negation, by not only saying what we are against….” This really rings true for me. Jesus didn’t spend so much time talking about what He was against. He spent a whole lifetime preaching about what He was for: love. I’m not sure yet, but I’d like to see if I can find a church that embraces this principle. The sermon this morning gave me a lot of hope.

In the past week I’ve also discovered a new song that pretty much sums it up.

Brothers, let us come together
Walking in the Spirit, there’s much to be done
We will come reaching, out from our comforts
And they will know us by our love

Sisters, we were made for kindness
We can pierce the darkness as He shines through us
We will come reaching, with a song of healing
And they will know us by our love!

The time is now, come church arise
Love with His hands, see with His eyes
Bind it around you, let it never leave you
And they will know us by our love

Children, you are hope for justice
Stand firm in the truth now, set your hearts above
You will be reaching, long after we’re gone
And they will know you by your love!

The time is now, come church arise
Love with His hands, see with His eyes
Bind it around you, let it never leave you
And they will know us by our love

“By Our Love”
Christy Nockels
Life Light Up
© 2009 Sparrow Records / sixsteprecords

1 comment Spirituality and Faith 08/23/2009 at 17:13 ET

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