So, many of you figured this out already, but for those of you who were genuinely happy for my new life status, I am truly sorry, that was rude of me. Apparently I even confused some of my friends for a hot minute (and they know what’s going on). I also felt it necessary to send the following text to my family, because let’s be honest, it’s not completely out of character for me to do something totally rash.
Happily/Sadly (you choose the emotion that suits you), I am nowhere near close to getting married. Spinsters for life rejoice! But I am technically marrying someone. Well, two someones.
On September 29, 2013, at 11:00 PM, I received the following text message from my good friend, Keller. He has a first name, but no one knows what it is, because he’s a ninja like that.
As for this ‘big plan’ he is referring to…
Every year I like to throw myself a bit of a birthday party, because it’s my birthday and I’m a huge fan of being alive, and think we should celebrate life every day, just maybe not with copious amounts of alcohol. The Birthday is a time where my motley crew of friends, some who know each other well, some who know each other not at all, but all will know each other a lot more by the end of the night, get together and get silly.
Some years ago, at one of these life celebrations, one in the glorious form of a dive bar pub crawl in the middle of a freakishly warm Wisconsin February, I got this great idea as I fuzzily stared around the pub full of my loves. Although my external state of being may have looked a little something like this:
My internal state of mind was alive and well, and that little mouse kept running faster and faster as the idea formed, lighting the little idea bulb that must have been glowing over my head.
And it was time to put that great idea into action, like now, because I would probably forget about it if I waited even five more minutes. You know how life celebrations go. The mice get tired. So I took my friend Alyssa’s hand, drug her over to Keller, put my left hand on Alyssa’s back, my right on Keller’s, and smooshed them together. I don’t think they had officially met before that.
I can’t remember if I slurred,”You two should be boyfriend and girlfriend,” or, “Yes,” or just giggled, or if I said anything at all. The external me is not always super eloquent. But I do know I managed to make it very awkward, for everyone but me. Because to me, it made sense. No pretty words, no explanation necessary. I knew everything I needed to know. Peanut butter and jelly make a sandwich. Like, a really tasty sandwich.
Shockingly (to me), this involuntary (for them) smooshing together of bodies, a union did not make.
But I still saw a pretty good-looking sandwich. So I invited Keller to The Great Dinndorf Wedding of 2009 as my date, a wedding at which Alyssa would also be present. It was this lovely evening the two finally figured out what I had known for five months. We joke that Keller was the worst date ever, but as it turns out, I win that award. I invited him to a wedding and then gave him zero details, like, where it was, what time it was, i.e., normal wedding stuff. He just knew it was a solid five hours away in Superior, WI and bumbled around Duluth’s ugly sister until he found us, without complaint. Best date ever?
Anyway, these two friends clearly know me better than I know myself. I told them I would come back no matter what: no matter where I was, what I was doing, name the date, I am there. I mean, I had to be there. I had to see the grand finale, the fruits of my labor (a very, very limited amount of labor). But if we’re being honest, from where I sit right now, on a mountain peak overlooking the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland, I am not so sure how easy it would have been to tear myself away for a wedding. I’d like to have faith in my promise, but I can’t say with 100% certainty that I could have pulled it off. I am not the hugest fan of weddings. Even a union of this magnitude. Even if I made this magic happen. (Okay, I didn’t make the magic happen, but I definitely provided the lighter to ignite the spark, and that’s something.)
Weddings can go on without the presence of the matchmaker. But they can’t go on without the officiant. Tricky bastards.
So twelve minutes after they proposed to me over FaceTime, I became an ordained minister. My new holy status is…interesting. I thought there would be more of a…I don’t know, more. More of a verification process? More of an ordeal? But you literally type in your name and your address, then TADAAAAAH!! For the small price of $39.99, you are officially ordained by the Universal Life Church!
The powers that be sent me an informative email confirming my status:
Congratulations! You are now legally ordained for life, though you may relinquish your credentials at any time. AS OF Monday the 14th of July 2014 YOU HAVE BECOME A MEMBER OF THE PRESTIGIOUS CLERGY. You have earned a title worthy of admiration and respect. (By simply providing my name and address?? Nice.)
Let it be known on this date that in accordance with the laws of the Universal Life Church Monastery, as ordaining officer, I, Brother Martin, do ordain you into our ministry. From this day forward, you are entitled to all of the rights of an ordained minister. You have the authority to perform marriages, baptisms, and all other ceremonies of the church. You are an independent minister of this church. This is a position that carries with it a burden of responsibility; please respect others and comply with the laws of the land.
I read it, a little baffled this was ALL I needed to do to unite two people for life. And I am not even religious. But the author of the email read my mind and provided an asterisked comment at the bottom of the email:
*** The church realizes that this new legal status as an ordained minister is difficult to realize. It is almost too good to be true – but it is. In St. John 15:16 it states that God chose you, not the other way around. Your ordination is of God from before the foundation of the earth – according to the Bible. You are not required to believe this, it is offered only as one source of your seeking ordination. It is the responsibility of the Church and the duty of the Monastery to assist you in your new ministry whatever it may be as long as it complies with the two tenets of the ULC: to promote freedom of religion and to do that which is right and within the law and don’t hurt anyone.
Well, all right then. Let’s get married, friends.
So that’s why I am coming home. For love. A great love of perfectly assembled peanut butter jelly sandwiches.