Making Memories

Life is a joyous, glorious adventure! Of course Yvonne Chouinard, the famous mountain climber, points out, “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong!” But that’s what makes a good story isn’t it?

When I was preparing to officiate at my first wedding, I was very nervous. That was back in the days when weddings were very formal affairs with strict protocols. The friends of the bride sat on one side and the friends of the groom sat on the other. Everyone had to stand at a particular point and sit at a different one. I was really worried about getting it right so I visited my octogenarian mentor, Maurice Meredith. Maurice could “wax an elephant” (speak eloquently) in the ol’ time style but he also had a bit of a joyful imp in his soul. He loved riding an old “beach cruiser” bicycle round the trailer park grinning like a kid with what little hair he had streaming out behind him in the wind. But on a good day Maurice could string together a sermon that would bring the strongest men to tears. So I sat down on a stack of books in his study (there were so many books in his tightly packed office, there wasn’t any room for chairs) and he walked me through the wedding ceremony one more time.

“Now when you get to the part about exchanging the rings,” he said, “and if everything has gone perfectly…” I could tell this was the important part – a secret to be passed down from one generation of ministers to the next. I leaned in to hear with my pencil poised over my notebook. Maurice looked around, grinned and whispered conspiratorially, “… drop the ring.”

“What?”

“Drop the ring,” he repeated seriously.

“Why?” I objected.

“Because if you don’t, they won’t have anything to remember,” Maurice concluded and he sat back to let this truth sink in.

That’s brilliant! Think about the weddings you’ve attended. We remember “the little flower girl” or “Uncle Henry” or the photographer who fell into the baptistery. It’s true. If everything goes according to plan, we have nothing to remember, nothing to talk about.

So think about Maurice’s advice the next time things don’t go the way you’re expecting and just say to yourself, “We’re not making mistakes – we’re making memories!”

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