My friends Mikki and Iris got married last Saturday. It was a beautiful wedding full of laughter and a lot of tears (most of it from Mikki). I had the privilege of giving the toast along with Iris’ sister. The original plan was for me to give the homily and years ago, in a retreat, I made the homily already. But things happened and that first wedding did not push through (THAT is a story that can be made into a soap opera) and I left the Society.
Two years later, in another twist that would put a movie to shame, Iris knelt down on one knee at the Singapore Botanical Gardens and asked Mikki to spend the rest of his life with her. Thirty minutes later, Mikki knelt down and gave Iris an engagement ring.
I tell you, their story is one for the movies and soap operas and books.
That fateful Saturday afternoon, Mikki and Iris sealed the deal. Because in the end, LOVE ALWAYS WINS.
Some years ago, Mikki asked me to give the homily for his wedding with Iris. I was a Jesuit then and Mikki felt that I knew them enough to give a good-enough homily. I knew Mikki from way back and Iris I met in college because of Mikki. I remembered that at that time, I promised to give the homily. I even promised to fly in wherever I was assigned at the time just for the wedding.
Fast forward years later. I’m no longer a Jesuit and I can no longer give a homily. And if you look at my friendster account now, my status says, IT’S COMPLICATED.
Fastforward years later. For Mikki and Iris (and those of us who really know them know this)—LIFE has happened. As that poignant line in the Ateneo Sibol play SINTA would put it—NANGYARI NA SA KANILA ANG MUNDO. Nagalusan na. Nasaktan na. Naiyak na. Nangyari na sa kanila ang mundo. And I remember that for awhile Mikki’s friendster account was IT’S COMPLICATED as well.
But I think that is precisely the beauty of what we celebrate right now in this wedding.
First, this celebration teaches us that things may change as they often will, and life will get complicated as it always does, but we keep our promises. This celebration teaches us that we have the capacity to keep the promises we make years ago, in one way or another, in one form or another, come what may. A homily becomes a toast. A promise made several years ago in Batangas, a promise that says: I WILL MARRY MY BESTFRIEND IRIS, is kept. In one way or another. In one form or another. Despite everything that happened.
And that’s why we’re all here. Because we’re able to keep promises.
Second, we celebrate a wedding not of two naïve starstruck lovers who do not know what real life really is all about. Rather, we celebrate a wedding of two individuals who have loved and lost and loved again. Who have felt the deepest joys and experienced the deepest pain. And because of that are probably the most ready couple to get married today.
This celebration teaches us that wounds, specially the ones that don’t kill us, only make us better. And while there are wounds, there is healing, because there is love. I think it was Morrie of Tuesdays with Morrie who said, “in the end, love always wins.” And this wedding is proof of that. I remember a drinking session with Mikki several months ago in Katipunan Extension where we raised our beer bottles for love. We said LOVE never dies. I think now that it’s more appropriate to say: LOVE ALWAYS WINS. In the end.
I would like to end with a quote from the movie SHALL WE DANCE.
“We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”
And now, may I ask everyone to raise their glasses to join me in this toast. For Mikki and Iris, who have shown me how promises are kept and how love always wins; that they will always be there to care about everything, every single day; and that they will be a witness to each other’s lives. CHEERS!