Friday, May 19, 2006

On Love

(A meditation delivered at Hans and Megan Klein-Hewett's wedding, May 13, 2006. Posted by request, and adapted slightly for prose rather than oral form. [I did not actually quote the Backstreet Boys during the wedding.])

Hello, and welcome to you all. We are gathered together tonight to celebrate the marriage of this man, Hans Vandervelde Klein, and this woman, Megan Elisabeth Hewett. And this is indeed great cause for celebration.

As I was thinking about this ceremony, I started thinking about the way our culture talks about love and romance in general, and how finding love is one of our great cultural obsessions. It's the focus of whole genres of movies, of books, and especially of music, where every song on the radio seems to be about love lost and found. And quite often in these songs, the loved one could be anyone—"my heart," "my fire," "my one desire." There's not really anything unique about this beloved: We only hear that they’re beautiful and life-changing.

But this has always struck me as a little odd, for love is nothing if it is not individual. Those whom we love—our family and friends and romances—we love for the things that are only them--their thoughts, their kindness, the spark of their eyes, the way they make us laugh. And we love them for who they make us when we are with them: better, kinder, more generous human beings, more truly the people we want to be. True love begins with our showing our true selves, and it brings our better selves out of that.

Hans and Megan know this. I asked Hans a few weeks ago how they fell in love, and he told me a story that involved marching band, “Iron Chef,” the Internet, many friends, and Creighton and Iowa State—a story that could have come only from who they each are. And from that beginning as separate individuals, they’ve made a life together, not as Megan-and-Hans but something greater than both: each of them in service to who they can be together, and the growth and the joy that come out of that.

We are here today to celebrate that life together, the continuation of that growth and joy, and their taking on of each other’s burdens in times of fear or pain. The astronomer Carl Sagan said, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” These two have found each other in the vastness of time and space and the six billion other people on earth. Today we commemorate and honor that miracle, and wish them well as they go forward in their life together.


  1. It sounds quite lovely. Here's wishing them well.

  2. Hi Cheryl,
    I met you at the Poconos Retreat at the end of March and just discovered your blog. After ten years of marriage, the beauty of this entry reminded me how thankful I am that my husband and I found each other. Love exists in the vastness.

  3. Oh, what beautiful sentiment! Reading heartfelt prose like this helps me forget about my husband's dirty clothes that don't quite make it into the hamper and remember how blessed I am to have married him in the first place!

    Thank you! :-)

  4. oh, but should should have quoted the Backstreet Boys during the ceremony! Unless, of course, it would have caused you/the bride/the groom to start snickering which would have been likely

  5. This is aunt Mary Alice speaking. I attended Hans and Megan's celebration, and it was unique and perfect in that it embodied their sentiments. I am glad to have been present at such a precious moment.

  6. This was such a perfect day for two wonderful people. I think Cheryl did an amazing job officiating at this wedding. She knows the groom well and has known the bride for a short time. She got it right.