What it means to be a witness to love
Everyone has a story, but not everyone is really present to their story inside of them. Being present to our own personal stories typically requires creating a space for our own communion with our story, interpersonal reflection, and being witnessed by friends and family.
It’s a lot like what the Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel calls “an architecture of time.”
This opening of space, or architecture, is exactly what happens during a marriage ceremony that’s officiated by our celebrants. The couple involved and the people in attendance are all participants in a once-in-a-lifetime experience that opens up a space— a point in time— to experience the living story of everyone involved.
As is often said, the most personal is the most universal.
When individuals are more present to the importance of their witnessing, they can more actively participate in a ceremony. Being a participant, rather than a spectator, creates a vibrancy in the community of family and friends who create a safety-net of support for the couple , and they experience themselves in the ceremony. To witness marriage vows adds power and substance to those making the vows. By its very nature, witnessing substantiates, providing evidence to support or prove the truth of the love and the bond that is being celebrated.
Being a witness to love isn’t an act limited to a marriage ceremony. It’s a way of being in the world that can open up space for another person to enter into and be accepted. It’s a way of listening that can see and acknowledge the individual while being silenced by the presence of the common story we all share.
It’s an invitation to be connected to the world in our aliveness.