I spent the last several days in Philadelphia, attending a college friend’s wedding and connecting with old classmates. The bride, Nicci, is actually a close friend of Catherine’s and so I went as Catherine’s date to the very beautiful ceremony in a West Philadelphia synagogue. Nicci’s family is Jewish and much of the service and reception followed the familiar traditions of Jewish weddings I have attended before, but with a twist. Nicci’s new husband Khalid is a practicing Moroccan Muslim. Through what must be a enduring ability to compromise, the ceremony incorporated both the blessings of a rabbi and an imam. Each spiritual leader, clearly offering both their personal and faith tradition’s wisdom on marriage, tried to speak both to the follower of their faith and to the couple.
The wedding provided a provocative backdrop for my reconnection with Catherine for the first time in 8 months. This was clearly not a sanitized “interfaith wedding,” and the sometimes challenging language and conflicting opinions of the two officiators was obvious. Both were willing to stand before the bride and groom though, for the sake of the couple’s love and trust that their differences could be reconciled. Catherine and I struggled with the realization that despite having so many ideologies and values in common we could not find a way back to partnership. Our differences are our own and can not be weighed against the tremendous bravery of Nicci and Khalid.
Regardless of the nostalgia and sadness, Cat and I had a great time with each other and parted ways committed to staying connected. Blessings to the new couple and may the commitment they have made to each other in their own words to God give them lasting happiness and fulfillment.
Evan, Thank you for this beautiful and thoughtful writing. Im glad you and Catherine spent time together and hope to see you before too long. Best wishes for your travels in Turkey and Palestine.