My daughter married the man she loves on Saturday. I have a thousand thoughts and ten thousand emotions swirling inside me. And somehow, my words don’t work. But Neil Gaiman’s do. He wrote these for friends, on the occasion of their wedding and has generously given permission for others to use them. So, this is what the bride’s father read for his toast, and what I will share here.
This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing
This is everything I’ve learned about marriage: nothing
Only that the world out there is complicated,
and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,
and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,
is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,
and not to be alone.
It’s not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it’s what they mean.
Somebody’s got your back.
Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn’t want to rescue you
or send for the army to rescue them.
It’s not two broken halves becoming one.
It’s the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home
because home is wherever you are both together
So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing
-like a book without pages or a forest without trees.
Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.
Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.
Because nobody else’s love, nobody else’s marriage, is like yours,
and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it,
a dance you cannot be taught,
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.
And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,
not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.
And your hands will meet,
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.
And that’s all I know about love.
things older than words
dark, feral things
that gather in my mind
and crowd my throat
against the back of my tongue
Or, at times, they rest
thick and heavy
in the ends of my fingers
and the tip of my pen
as I try to write
Once upon a time, a wise man named Galen began writing 55 words on Fridays. And he invited others to joined him. Then one, sad day he left us. But a good witch, Hedgewitch, took up the 55 and carried it for as long as she could.
I think of these people every time I manage to coax 55 words from wherever it is they come from.
“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.” ― Henry Beston