welcome. thank you all for being here. renna and geoffrey thank you for letting us all bear witness to the love you share.
i am holding a box with the beloveds’ rings in them. after today, geoffrey and renna will wear these rings every day of their lives to symbolize their commitment to each other. and they have asked us to bless their rings, to each take a moment to hold them and silently imbue these rings with our love and best wishes for their future. i am going to pass these around so that every person here is woven into that future. (don’t open the box! and…do your most efficient blessing.)
so. we are here today to celebrate good news. renna and geoffrey you found each other – congratulations!
congratulations to your families, to those who created you, to your friends, to every life experience that has shaped you both to be so awesome for each other. well done.
really, what a miracle!
love is always a miracle.
not just dating or crushes or even relationships, all of that is miracle development work.
in this big world where we somehow sift through our portion of 7 billion people and find those beyond our families who we can love unconditionally, you have found each other.
and this is a heartbreaking world. so you have to be making choices along the way, staying open hearted in the onslaught, healing, reopening, being available to scar your heart on the sharp corners and jagged edges of other people’s growth.
and your own.
you have to be willing to be seen in your wholeness. and wholeness is a nakedness, we are taught to only show our faces, our hands. on a hot day some elbows and knees. but love is letting someone see us all of a piece, the imperfections and scars and stretch marks. the funny shaped this or that. the messy mornings and exhausted evenings, the times when we laugh so hard we snort, the grief that has us laid out unbathed and unbothered on the floor. our pettiness, our insecurity, our beauty, our ecstasy. our humanity.
i work as a doula and so far in every birth, there is a moment when the birthing parent says, ‘nope. can’t. mm-mm. i will go now.’
because miracles are inconceivable. even though they happen daily, and even when they are happening…its impossible until it is done.
and in love we do the same thing. we get to the edge and look down to the depths of ourselves and realize we can’t see the bottom. the feeling coming through is too big to speak with our small mouths, to feel with just our hearts.
then we jump, fall, fly, speak, commit: i love you. forever. you are a piece of my wholeness.
and whenever this feeling occurs, it is life itself, moving up against terror and danger and unworthiness.
true love is always political – it is always a way of being a warrior, asserting a future in spite of and in response to the past.
love is the best of sentient life’s gifts.
in this world where we cultivate hierarchy, otherness, enemies, borders and never ending consumption, love is a balm.
love counter offers equality, togetherness, comraderie, shared land and life, and the deep sleep that comes from having exactly enough.
we need to love each other.
and as we prepared together these past few months, renna and geoffrey and i noted the importance of this particular union.
these two lovers before us today, a syrian woman and a black man, bring with them mutual legacies of persecution. both come from peoples who are in utmost danger in the places they call home.
i was just traveling outside the us, on the same journey these two are about to take for their honeymoon – and i was asked a few times how, why black people don’t flee america, given the frequency of state violence against us. and i was in places where syrian refugees sit in family units on street corners asking for mercy.
stay, go, there is no right answer, no safe geography in this interconnected world.
the only way forward, the only safety, is love. to love ourselves and each other, not just in spite of the messages from the world that tell us not to, but as our act of resistance. as our evolution.
to reject the narratives that say we are separate. then to love each other, unconditionally:
you are lovable
i can forgive you
i can see you whole
we can love
we can love in ways that heal our legacies of persecution and trauma and heartache and loneliness and small thinking
we are whole
we can only remember that together
love taps us directly into that force of life that is greater than ourselves – god, creation, the tao, the way. it reminds us that even in the course of our mundane, frustrating, funny, ever improving lives, we are always miraculous, we are all, already, pieces of divine light moving through this world.
so thank you renna and geoffrey, for weaving your lineages together into a future, for increasing human resilience by choosing love.
thank you for the ease and maturity of your union. it is so healing to be around you! keep it up.
thank you for turning towards the work of opening up to each other, trusting each other and nurturing life together.
james baldwin said ‘love is a growing up’ – you two embody that. for myself, for us, as individuals, and for the species, but thank you both for growing towards the sun and the light.
now it is time for the vows.
(the lovers exchanged gorgeous vows to each other, each based in gratitude that the other person existed, incredible love, and promises to each other. they had the following vows for the community)
community, i am going to read your vows now, and if you can make this commitment, please respond with ‘we do’.
Community, as Geoffrey and Renna’s extended kin, do you promise to do your best to remain sane and loving.
To intervene with hope and possibility during the darker times.
To communicate honestly, past the ‘masks of composure’.
Intervening with truths, perspective, humor and time as needed.
Do you vow to rejoice together, and mourn together, and to delight in each other, helping to ensure each other’s optimal well-being and fullest potential?
three additional highlights:
1. the music! there was a zaffa band to lead the bridal party in and out, and dj emancipation spinning with curator ola khalidi supporting. emanne and i want to manifest being a brown feminist radical love team for sacred unions 🙂
(i danced for the first time since my injury – music heals.)
2. meeting a couple who were older and had found each other as ‘spirit-loves’ three years ago. they had such ease, sweetness and gratitude to be in each other’s presence, showed so much care. it is never too late for love.
3. geoffrey’s uncle spoke on behalf of his brother, geoffrey’s father, who passed when geoffrey was young. i wept at the beauty of this responsibility, this love, and then goosebumps moved over my skin, over the crowd – that long gone father spirit swept through the room and we knew the union was good.
so grateful to be part of it – here’s a few pictures of this incredible day: