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.
“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.” ― Henry Beston
“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” – Theodore Roethke
“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” – Iain Thomas
“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.” -Neil Gaiman, and me
“To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” -Calvin Coolidge
Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!
And anything else I forgot.
Basically, Happy Everything!