And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

“Late Fragment” by Raymond Carver

So, here’s the thing about the Universe: it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between an event that is the result of some Divine Plan and one that happened by random chance. The circumstance caused by the playing out of the Hand of Fate and that caused by the quantum uncertainty that operates on the smallest levels of existence are indistinguishable from one another.

Rev. Mark Schaefer
June 19, 2019
Chatter, Washington, D.C.

           So, was it part of the plan of history, written before time even began, or was it merely chance that led Jaime and Rob to find each other? To make that connection, to bring us to this moment today? How can we know one way or the other?

            I wish I could say the difference were self-evident, but it’s not. And ultimately, the difference between chance and providence is a choice we make. The choice between seeing the world as the net result of random probabilities and chance, and seeing it as a world of wonder, purpose, and meaning.

            When making a life together, this choice, as much as the choice we make of one another, can be one of the most powerful choices we can make.

Jaime and Rob are married
Photo by Bobby Gottfried

            Choosing to see the world as a place of wonder, mystery, and meaning, means that we see intrinsic value in the world—and in the people we find in it. We see each other as ends in themselves rather than as means to an end. We see one another and the decisions we make not merely as the end result of some long roll of the dice, but as an event that has meaning, that helps us discern purpose, that represents hope in a world that is often frightening and oppressive.

            And, it primes us for another choice that we are called to make: the choice to love. Now, you might think: we cannot choose our feelings—and that’s right. But love is not a feeling—it’s a way of living in right relationship. It’s the choice to see goodwill in the decisions of our partners. It’s the willingness to sacrifice our own self-interest for the sake of the other. It’s the willingness to be vulnerable when we want to save face, to listen when we’d rather explain our point of view, to sit in silent solidarity when we’d rather demonstrate our ability to fix problems.

            It’s the choice to see the world and our beloved in a certain way. Just as we choose to see the world as one of meaning and purpose, so, too, do we choose to see our beloved in the light of love—and that changes everything.

            Undoubtedly, some will claim that Rob and Jaime are here because of a jingle festival. Or because of the Tony Kornheiser Show. Or because Tony likes The Palm and his fans thought to organize a happy hour there. And perhaps those things are true. 

            But those of us gathered here know better—Rob and Jaime are here today because the universe conspired that it would be so. Their love was meant to be from time immemorial. Their coming together written in the very fabric of the cosmos itself.

            We know this, because we know the power of seeing the world this way; the power of choosing the lenses of hope, of meaning, of love. For it is in choosing to see hope that we find hope, in choosing to see meaning and purpose that we find meaning and purpose, and in choosing to see love, that we find love that will last us our whole lives long.

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