Kids Corner


A Wedding Day Blessing:
Letters From Espanola





One of my very dearest friends in the world, Elizabeth, got married last weekend.

Liz and I first met when we were in the First Grade. The story goes that I wanted to get a drink of water, but was too short to reach even the child-sized water fountain in school. Liz saw me struggling, came up behind me (also being in the First Grade, but taller) and picked me up so I could get a drink.

For the next eight years, we were inseparable. We went to grade school and junior high together. We would have also gone through high school together, but my family left New Jersey and moved to Texas when I was a teenager.

Somehow, through the years, Liz and I stayed in each other's lives. There is something very precious about knowing another person for one’s whole life. The ups and downs. The dreams and the realities.

So when Liz asked me to be the minister at her wedding, I was thrilled.

We were both raised Catholic, and while neither of us are “practicing Catholics,” we both have a sense of spirituality from that upbringing. Liz is not a Sikh, and she was not looking for a Sikh-specific ceremony. But we talked about some things that she and Dave wanted to include in their wedding, and one line especially stood out for them. It is the line from Guru Amar Das, where he says:

"They are not said to be husband and wife, who merely sit together. Rather, only they are husband and wife, who have one soul in two bodies." [GGS:788]

Those lines spoke to her and to her fiancé, Dave. It reminded me once again of the universality of the Guru's teachings. How the Gurus spoke to the spiritual life of any person. How they shared truths that we can all resonate with, no matter what our faith or background. I liked that Liz and Dave loved this concept of one soul in two bodies, and wanted it to be part of their ceremony.

As luck would have it, because of some health issues I am facing these days, I could not actually fly to New Jersey and officiate at the wedding. It was tremendously disappointing to not be there in person. But Liz and Dave asked me to write something that could be read during the ceremony. And I did.

In all honesty, I have to say my understanding of love has evolved over the years. When I was younger, I used to think of love as the irresistible siren call of passion. The heat and the intensity. But that kind of love never lasts on its own. It is part fantasy, and part hopefulness. If it does not mature into something more grounded and sincere, it will eventually fade away. For me, Guru Amar Das' line is one of the most beautiful statements about love. It allows love to become a spiritual practice between two people, a practice of union beyond the individual. The way Guru Amar Das describes it, love becomes the vehicle of transcendence.

Liz likes reading the articles that I write. She affectionately calls them, "Sikh and the City." So I do not think she will mind too much if I share what I wrote for her wedding, in this column. I hope you enjoy it. It is an interfaith, Sikh-inspired reflection on love and marriage.

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In the crazy busyness of life, we often forget that our time here on earth is a temporary one. The Spirit comes into form for only one purpose - to consciously experience love. If we have truly known love in our lives, then when our time comes, we can leave the earth with a sense of completion.

It can be the love of a spouse, the love of a friend, the love of family, or the love of a child. But if we have never known love, then it does not matter how much money we have accumulated; how much power or status - the soul departs with a sense of loss. With a feeling that something was missing.

Love is not an emotion, to be honest with you. It is not passion or drama. Love is a very selfless, silent vibration that one soul feels towards another soul. There is no pain with love. It is peaceful, compassionate and present. Love is a willingness to stand by another person, through the ups and downs of life, with only one intention - to be with them and to serve them, so that the best of that person can come through and shine.

Liz and Dave, no matter what each of you have been through in your individual lives, the Creator has blessed you with this kind of love. Your love for each other is not only an expression of your souls; it is the fulfillment of your souls. It is a very precious gift you have been given.

Now, with this act of marriage, a new chapter in your life has begun. Take this priceless gift of love and cherish it. Protect it. Nurture it. Love is like every other living thing. It needs care and attention to keep growing. Never take your love for granted. Wake up every day remembering that it is a gift, and asking the Creator what that gift of love requires from you today.

Over time, with practice and patience, you will find that this vibration between your souls, this love that flows between you, will erase your sense of "I." It will dissolve the walls of separation between you. This process will not always be easy. Love is a very divine power. It is also a very purifying power. Sometimes, on the path of union, some very difficult shadows can surface. But if you stay focused on the love, on the service, and on the One who brought you together, you shall cross through everything - even the challenges. One day, you will find that, through love, you have become one with each other.

The bodies may sit in separate places. But there will be One Spirit between you. Time and space will have no power to create distance or separation.

Remember that the love you have is not for you alone. This love is also for all those who know you. As you grow in your love day by day, let that light spill over to everyone you meet. Let this gift of love be a shelter for those who are wandering. A support to those in need. A meal for someone who is hungry. A hug for someone who is lost. Let the love you have been given become a love for all humanity. Serve those around you and do it together. Share your love with others. It shall prosper and flourish many times over.

May the Light of the Divine guide you and protect you, in your union, from this day to Eternity.

Wish I could have been there in person to say all of this. Love you both very much.

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I am grateful to share these thoughts with all of you readers. May you be blessed in your experience of love as well.


November 24 2013

Conversation about this article

1: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), November 28, 2013, 7:32 AM.

We all fear love, yet when we find love we don't know what to do! Many people who love then turn that love slowly to hate! And the result we all know about. Love for me is the butterflies in the stomach and my legs turning to jelly! At the sight or thought of the woman I love! But the Guru always talks about love for the Creator! And if you find bliss through the shabad kirtan, then all other loves are miniscule in comparison! The true Guru explains to us that ultimately the true wedding day is the marriage between us and the Creator!

2: Nav Kaur (Australia), November 29, 2013, 7:02 AM.

Wow! That was beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

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Letters From Espanola"

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