This is the five-minute toast I made at my sister’s wedding last weekend. Sibling – this one’s for you.

…I’d like to say a few words about Sean and Liza.

When you think about all of the preparation, the thought, the funds, the planning that go into a wedding, the actual event itself has surprisingly few speaking parts. You have the pastor that gives his spiel, the bride and groom who say their vows and their “I do’s”, and then Mariah and me, each allotted five minutes for a toast. So, given the significance of the event, and the rare opportunity to speak, I’m gonna milk it.

By that same token, I feel that I am charged with having to put into words the tremendous emotional, social and spiritual event that we are experiencing. Yikes! With that in mind, I will try to focus on what I know. I’ve known Liza for most of my life (and all of hers). I’ve known Sean for just a few years. On top of that, I was explicitly told not to say anything that would embarrass him, so I’ll focus on my sibling instead.

A couple of family snapshots.

One. Liza was five and I was seven. I got the brilliant idea to wash the tops of these tall, top-heavy narrow book shelves that we had. To get to the top I half shoved, half hoisted Liza up on my shoulders (now you know what a seven-year-old hoisting a five-year-old looks like) and leaned her against the shelves. A little way into the cleaning I felt the shelves slowing tilting forward, gaining momentum as they went. I yanked Liza down just in time to see the entire shelving unit crash onto the floor. Much later Mom recalled the 20-second dash from the kitchen to the bedroom where we were playing as the longest 20 seconds of her life.

But why do I tell all of this? Because Liza is an adventure-seeker.

In Sean she’s found a great partner in crime. They go bike-riding and camping together, plan various adventures, run marathons, go exploring. With them, any adventure is that much more exciting when shared.

Another snapshot, many years later.

When we were in youth group our youth pastor talked to us about Halloween. It was just about that time of the year, and he decided to stress the importance of knowing the history behind this holiday and to suggest that maybe we shouldn’t dress up as witches and wizards and forgo trick-or-treating this year. Well we always loved dressing up so Liza and I and a three of our friends (one of whom is here, yay Anastacia! And another one who’s pregnant and who sent her parents here to the wedding instead) dressed up as a Christmas-caroling slug. We spray-painted a sheet in greens and reds, cut four holes in it, grabbed bags of candy and went around the neighborhood singing Christmas carols and giving candy to all of the little ghouls and goblins.

So imagine this with me. It’s Halloween, we knock on the door and when it opens, instead of trick-or-treat we start in with “Deck the halls with bows of holly…”. The reactions were priceless: “Oh my goodness! Hey you guys, come out here and look at this!” and “wait, can you go and do it all over again? I’ll get my video camera…”. Ah, good times.

This I recall to show that Liza is a creative thinker.

So is Sean. They are each creative in their own way, in their own domain. They compliment each other’s interests, support each other’s talents, ambitions and dreams, give each other the creative space each needs while weaving new dreams together, and in this manner becoming a whole new unit.

I’m feeling like my five minutes are soon to be up, so I’ll indulge myself in sharing two bits of advice. Please understand – this does not come from someone having the authority or wisdom to give advice, but from someone who wants to know that hey, at least I tried.

So. Number one: It’s important to be wrong sometimes. Seriously.

There is nothing that heals a wound better or resolves a conflict faster than, “Honey, I was wrong.” Those are magical words. In fact, they’re even more important than “I love you.”

Two: Don’t overanalyze. You know who this is for.

Ok. I’m done! Be merry, be joyful, happy wedding, Liza and Sean. Yay!

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