By: Kyle Elden
I have spent the last number of days constructing and composing a wedding ceremony for one of my dearest friends. I will be the officiant for her wedding in less than two weeks. They will be married on an overlook above the majestic Lake Superior. And of course, we want everything to be perfect. She gave me the task of finding a poem, the perfect poem to read at their wedding. I love poetry, especially love poetry; however, amidst all the great writers I am drawn to, Hafiz, Rumi, Mary Oliver, e.e. cummings, and so on, I was struggling to find that perfect poem to read. I spent hours paging through countless poetry books, searching the internet with key words that should've drawn from the multitude of available masterpieces and shining with truth and beauty, that perfect poem should've appeared.....but it didn't. I was beginning to get nervous. What seems such a simple task for me especially, had become a daunting reality. With the wedding only two weeks away now I was fretting about having a wedding ceremony I was responsible for writing, void of the perfect poem. It seemed nearly sacrilegious.
My friend and I discussed this quandary. We laughed about how amidst the countless beautiful love poems, we still hadn't found the "one" and the way in which this search is much like finding the "one" with whom you are meant to spend your entire life with. The poem needed to speak the truth of their journey and relationship, be saturated with the essence of their love, and be universal so all people could relate to and behold the words. In this process I thought about trusting that it would come to us, much in the way we simply need to open our hearts and have faith that that special and unique individual that is perfectly matched for us will arrive when the time is right.
As I was working on their ceremony I was contemplating and writing about the way in which, when we find that person, there is a sense of home in one another that is indescribable yet gently draws you together. In discussing their relationship and journey to one another, this sense of "home" is exactly how they described their love for each other. I recalled that a couple of years back, when I was in an unfulfilling relationship, my writer's group assignment was to write about that sense of "home," and I wrote about the lack of a sense of "home" in my own relationship. It was a poignant time of truth and reflection that helped me recognize the need to move forward in life by making necessary changes to open myself up so I can, someday, have that deep connection with somebody and trust that, even if it seems like it may never happen, it will, in time, when it is right.
And just as I was writing about their love resounding with a sense "home" in their ceremony, I received an e-mail from the bride to be with a poem forwarded to them from a friend of theirs who will be doing another reading during the ceremony. The poem was written by his late wife and he felt this call to send it to them. The moment she read it, the moment I read it, we knew it was the "one" we had been searching for. And like the "one" we end up having as our life partner, should we be so blessed, we realize that it is not something or someone that we have any control over "finding" but rather a gift that is given to us.
I feel honored and privileged to be officiating the wedding of two individuals who truly know home in one another's arms. This is the poem that will be read during the ceremony:
I’ve been looking for you everywhere.
In crowds of people I sought your face.
In quiet streets I listened for the sound of your footstep,
knowing that I would recognize it anywhere.
I’ve seen the lights from distant villages at night
and wondered if you were there,
bathed in longing like me,
the spices of the warm air on your skin.
I’ve built houses with my own hands
and hung lace curtains in the windows
with the hope that you would find me,
But it was not our time yet.
I’ve shared food at many tables,
watched families kiss their children goodnight,
then sung praises to the stars while walking home alone.
But now that I’ve found you,
all of that makes sense.
Years and years of wandering
have brought me here
Driven by our restlessness,
we traveled through the world
to find each other.
And while, around us, the household bustles with life—
women laughing at each other’s jokes,
old men drinking tea—
we lie here in each other’s arms
and know we’re home.