Love and Temporality

Here is the reading I wrote for the wedding I attended yesterday. It was a very good day. I performed my reading well. I think I have almost come to terms with my stutter, as I performed near flawlessly. Having delivered almost 100 lectures and taught countless (400+) tutorials has certainly helped.

Love and Temporality — Glen Fuller
A reading at a wedding is meant to do two things. Firstly, somehow relate to the couple about to be married and, secondly, contain a lesson that their nuptials can teach to us. ‘Us’ being them and everyone else collected here today.
The defining quality of Tom and Annika’s relationship is how long it has taken for them to get married. [pause]
Roughly 12 years has passed since they originally met and in all that time they have barely parted.

Along the way, we have probably all had a word to them about taking the next step and getting married, but they have always resisted – not in a petulant way but in way that suggested that the timing of these nuptials was always going to be up to them.

For Annika and Tom to stand before us today, shows that they have made the decision that the time is right – that they have so loved their life together that they know they will want it to always be so.

[slowly] In a relationship, timing is everything.

And perhaps what today’s ceremony should show us is that the question of timing can mean so many things.
We must step back to appreciate that timing can be qualitative rather than simply quantitative.
Annika and Tom have not decided to marry today because they have reached an expiry date or a deadline. It is not the date or the time that has made this ceremony.

Rather, today is the time to marry because there is something special and right about this moment that has moved Annika and Tom to take the step to declare their commitment before their friends and family.

[savvy, smile] The ancient Greeks would refer to the qualitative nature of this ceremony and the whole process of engagement and preparation as Kairos. Kairos refers to the right time, the time of opportunity, the time of creation. It cannot be measured. We recognise Kairos in our lives as the sublime moment when something new can be affirmed and brought into the world. Here and now we are celebrating within the Kairos of Annika and Tom’s love on their wedding day.

But it is not enough for the moment to arise. To capitalise on opportunity requires work and the lesson I would encourage Annika and Tom to take from my words is to recognise [pause] when these opportunities are presented to them throughout their lives. Whenever one of you is sick, may the other realise the opportunity to demonstrate their love through caring. Whenever one of you is tired and short-tempered, I hope that the other realises the opportunity to affirm their love through patience. And so on. Basically, to recognise that your love exists within a temporality of opportunity and embrace it. This way your love is re-affirmed and re-created in new ways for the rest of your lives together.

Tom and Annika’s decision to marry is also a lesson in timing to those witnessing this ceremony. Annika and Tom have asked us all to attend and witness at 5 o’clock on the 27th of December 2009 and we have all marked the date in our diaries and checked our watches to make sure we got here on time.

But when we look back on today, we will not remember the time or even the date.

[slowly] What we will remember is the kairos moment – the decision of these two people to marry before us all. So let us not pass today and the days in the future simply asking, “What time is it?” Let us instead reflect on time through the idea of Kairos and go further to ask, “What is this time for?”

5 replies on “Love and Temporality”

  1. Glen – This is a beautiful piece of writing – and I am sure Tom and Annika will treasure your words – maybe it will form part of their photo album and record of ther marriage and wedding celebrations.

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