Before the vows Reverend Owens presented a reading exploring the idea, "what is this thing called love".

 

What is this thing called love? Can we live without it? Can we live with it? Is it the radiant core of our beings illuminating and enriching all that we are and that surrounds us, or is it a useless fantasy to be cast out of our lives like a cold stone? If we choose to live our life apart, we can indulge in dismissing love if that suits our fancy, but if, like most persons, we find some nagging, persistent hollowness in a solitary life then we must find some way, some accommodation with whatever love is, to allow another person to enter and share the rooms in which we live.

We may think we know what love is, or the things that magically provide it. Lust, glamour, power, or a thousand other things we can clutch at, to jealously guard against loss, only to witness them crumble in the tightness of our grasp.

So what is this thing called love, if we can not grab it and lock it in a box? A question like so many others waiting in a solitary moment, laughing at us from out of the darkness, daring us to be audacious enough to presume to know an answer. Maybe God is out there in the darkness, or maybe we are content to shiver and acknowledge that the darkness is unknowable.

But then there is a presence, another person that has found a way into that room of your life with you, finds you with a smile, and a bright flash in his or her eyes banishes the dark, illuminating a path back to the stream of things and friends and events flowing warmly and steadily from moment to moment, back to the graceful, enchanting dance of life.

So just what is love? A day arrives, if you are fortunate, when it no longer occurs to you to ask the question. Another person has quietly slipped into your life, yet is bound tightly to you. With a glance, a light touch on the arm, or any of a thousand other small little acts, your lover grasps you with a thousand small, gentle tendrils of connection, each one, in each moment, invisible and imperceptible in its growth, yet all of them, all of them together, enveloping the moment in the intimacy of their collective caress.

A further day arrives, if you a very fortunate, when both you and your partner no longer ask the question. The path of life ahead may twist and turn through the light and the dark, but in each dark stretch there will be a circle of light from the illumination you each provide for each other, and in the brilliant, radiant days along the path there will be a partner to share the enchantments found at each turn.

What is this thing called love? Paula and Larry no longer ask the question. They are content to know, and share today with all of us gathered here, their desire and their pledge to spend the rest of their lives together.