Several weeks prior to her wedding, my friend Thea asked me to write something about love to read during the ceremony. I waited until two days prior to really give it the old college try. From the wedding that a noted political analyst called “the reddest wedding I’ve ever seen,” (“red” meaning having to do with Communism, in this context), here’s what I came up with.

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Wedding Speech of Mark Ludas to Justin and Thea at their Wedding

July 26, 2014

When two people meet each other for the first time, it is usually pretty clear whether they will get along well with each other. There is a meeting of the minds, an overlapping sense of humor, a shared interest or two in one or two similar activities. Sometimes there is a strong physical element and sometimes that shows up later. Perhaps there are some similar experiences to be shared and bonded over, as though cut from the same cloth. There can be tension, disagreement, but usually this breeds interest, fascination. And the desire to see more of each other is the most telling of signs that, indeed, yes, these two people get along well with each other.

After some time passes, some earnest words are exchanged, a few long walks around the yard and many shared ideas, it becomes clear that these two not only get along with each other, but care about each other. The well-being of one is repetitiously occurring to the other, and vice versa. A bond starts to form, and time spent apart is considered time wasted, or at least misspent. Each person’s wealth of knowledge and experiences is considered just that: a wealth, because it adds both quality and quantity to one’s own. Where before there was one mind, now there are two, and those two minds combine to form ideas, thoughts, feelings, that could not have existed while the two minds lay apart.

Soon, the time before having met the other person starts to seem, again, like time misspent, or at least incomplete. Dreams and ambitions start to bear a common theme: the presence of one another. And not just her presence, but her centrality, her necessity, to everything he considers his future. And not just his voice, habits, or tendernesses, but his very existence…to everything she considers…existence. I use the pronouns He and She, referring of course to these two, but it could be anyone to anyone, for that is how important human beings can be to one another, to understand that the substance of my life is diminished without you, the substance of the entire world and all the good I hope to do in it, my freedom, my agency, my abilities and willingness to use them, last of all my happiness, because I don’t love you for the happiness you give me now; rather, I love you for the happiness that I will one day feel, of being able to one day look back on my life, some years from now, and know that we did all we could, and we did it together. For it is only when people have loved each other that anything good ever came out of this world, and in having your love, your guidance, your sanity, I know I did all the good that I could for this world, for this life that we are both now lucky enough to have been born into.

Ah, luck. Ten fingers and ten toes, full use of our faculties, basic intelligence, the ability to avoid starving or imprisonment, as it turns out (pause), the ability to work and feel some semblance of security of the self. Are these signs of a superior character? No. They are pure, stumbling luck, signifying only some vestige of a fragile socioeconomic order. But what is not luck? What *is*, perhaps, a sign of good character? *Feelings*, and following them, with conviction, with passion, and sticking to them no matter what people say, no matter what catastrophes “fate,” and fate is just another word for society, put in your way. Character is knowing you love someone and loving them anyway. Sure, it is luck that brings two people together, but it is character that keeps them together, to form a society of their own.

And that is what love is, genuineness of feeling. For there were rarely two people I have ever met who believed what they believe with such seriousness, such certainty, and such solidarity as Thea and Justin. I’m only excited for them to see what comes from their union, what kind of life they’re going to make for themselves, what kind of theories they come up with, in large part because I know it will be uniquely theirs, as will the many good things they have yet to accomplish in this life. So I want to say I’m so very glad to be here today to see this incredible thing happening, it gives me a lot of hope. Congratulations and thank you. Lots of love.

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