Reveling in my reverential duties

The Reverend Humbertson presiding over his first set of nuptials.

I’ve played a lot of roles in my lifetime. I’ve been a reporter. I’ve sold cheese. I’ve played an idiotic cowboy who was blown up in a saloon. I was even cast in the nonspeaking part of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, where my sole responsibility was lifting up my prosthetic hands and ominously pointing to objects on stage. But nothing has quite compared to the role I played a few weeks ago, when I served as reverend and performed the marriage of two of my dearest friends.

How does one become a reverend? Well, in my case, it was the combination of two ingredients — downtime and the Internet. I was bored one day at work in college and surfed over to the Universal Life Church. After inputting my name, voila! I was an official minister. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the new certification, and most certainly had no clue I would actually be using it five years later, but, like a blender or a master’s degree, I thought it might come in handy some day.

When Mike and Reshma got engaged and asked me to officiate their ceremony, I was humbled and only too eager to accept. Becoming ordained was the easy part. But now I had to craft a sermon I wanted to be funny, heartfelt, talk about who these two people were and explain what they meant to me and to each other. No pressure there — I mean, the success of their marriage depended on it.

I did some Googling to find what others had done. I came across a lot of traditional material, quotations of sacred texts or poetry. I even found an oddly touching speech about the relation between marriage and zombies (that love and forming connections are what will keep us from becoming zombies and shambling about the landscape). While amusing, it didn’t provide much inspiration. I didn’t want my ceremony to be religious, and, most importantly, I wanted it to be completely original.

So I wrote down some notes, sat down at my computer and did what I so rarely get to do for the newspaper — I wrote from the heart.

I went back to my notes from senior year of high school and used what I wrote about Mike. I wrote about my friendship with Reshma. I wrote about how great the two of them are together. And all that writing yielded some of these gems:

“I’ve known Mike since we were both total nerds in middle school. Not much has changed since then. He is still one of the few people in my life who I can completely depend on.”

“Reshma turned into one of my closest confidants — a guiding compass who I could turn to when I needed advice on matters of the heart, life decisions or whose head to Photoshop onto a compromising pose for one of our infamous birthday cards.”

“Many wedding ceremonies compose poetry or quote famous verses. Passages from the Bible, sonnets from Shakespeare, the quoting of any other literary masterwork — none of that was going to cut it. Not for these two. The love that Mike has for Reshma and Resh for Mike is like the love from a fairy tale, one that is truly timeless but would be doing a disservice to if described by something someone else has written. It’s a bond deserving of its own, original, poetic verse. And since I’m no good at writing sonnets, haikus are too short because I’m being paid by the hour, and I stopped writing acrostics in fourth grade, I settled on my favorite form of poetry: the limerick.”

When the day of the wedding came, and it was time to deliver my creation — limerick included (posted in its entirety at http://www.thewoodstockindependent.com) — I was almost as nervous as the groom.

As Reshma entered the hall in her gown, and the hundreds of people in attendance stood up, Mike kept staring at me, asking, “Can I look at her now?”

And when he turned and saw her, he had the most gigantic, loving smile I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt like I was getting married.

My sermon went great. The wedding went great. It was one of those perfect moments in time, me standing there talking to my best friends, surrounded by hundreds of friends and family. I won’t ever forget it.

So now with one ceremony down, I’m an officially practicing reverend. So readers, please know I’m available for weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals if you book me now.

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