An incredible few days last week exploring and traveling through San Sebastian, Spain. Amal and I flew out there to celebrate the wedding of our good friend and Ubuntu board member Jeff Beaver and his now wife, Ali Panzer. It was an incredible week filled with all kinds of Basque centered activities from cider tastings in an old 1800 cider tavern to pintxos pub crawls to highland games in a remote vineyard and finally celebrating the wedding day. I had the honor of performing the marriage ceremony which was an incredibly special moment. It was the first wedding ceremony that I had performed in a Catholic Church let alone an insanely beautiful historic Catholic Cathedral in the middle of San Sebastian Old Town.
A few images from the week below as well as a copy of the homily I gave touching on our need to “go deeper” in our lives, to sink more fully into the mysterious waters of God and our lives as a whole. Rarely do we slow down and feel that wholeness of our own lives and the presence of Gods movement all around us. Enjoy and I hope it speaks to your heart as well.
Last week I had the opportunity of Facetiming with Ali and Jeff the day after they arrived in Spain. We talked about how things were going…how they were REALLY going. I listened to some of the highs and lows that they were experiencing as they made last minute preparations for all of us to be here to celebrate this very special moment. As we spoke the image of water kept entering our conversation. I shared with them how much I return again and again to the imagery of water as a priest, but also as a dedicated person to the practice of meditation. You see I believe that all of life is God, and God is the embodiment of life. In meditation I like to visualize a body of water, an ocean, as the presence and mystery of all of life and of God. In life we typically spend the majority of our time and energy on the surface of life jumping from activity to activity consumed with the hustle and bustle of our days. Each activity is represented by different boats. We have the boat of our spouse, the boat of our kids, the boat of our job, the boat of paying our bills, the boat of vacation, etc, etc. And each day we wake up, grab our cell phones and are immediately catapulted from boat to boat responding to the demands of life. However, then there are moments like right now when we can pause and sink more deeply into life’s mystery or as Jeff and I like to remind one another GO DEEPER. You see it’s moments like these, or moments of prayer and meditation when we pause from boat hopping and are able to sink deeply into lifes mysteries, into Gods deeper presence below the waters surface. This is where we find the meaning of life, the calm, the love, the peace and joy of our existence when we pause and take time to GO DEEPER.
I often joke with Jeff and our wider Ubuntu team that Jeff is the ONLY person in my life that actually makes me feel like I need to be cautious. I’ve traveled all over the world and have worked with many many diverse personalities, but I can honestly say I have never met anyone like Jeff who actually makes me grab for the sides of my boat often! ☺ And then there is Ali…the calm and anchor in the midst of Hurricane Jeff. I first got to know Ali when she and Jeff made their first trip to Kenya with Ubuntu. I’ll never forget watching the two of you each day dancing with one another, figuring out how to process this Kenya experience for one another. One particular morning stands out when I was standing in Café Ubuntu and I couldn’t find Jeff. I asked Ali and she simply smiled and said, “I think he’s out back walking around processing this whole thing.” And sure enough there was Jeff sitting out back of Café Ubuntu taking it all in, taking in some of the depth, breadth and wildness that is Africa.
I’ve had the honor of watching these two mold, hold and shape one another into something very beautiful. I said dance earlier, because it has been a dance. At some points Hurricane Jeff is screaming out ahead and Ali is hesitantly and lovingly accompanying down those steep double black moguls and other times Ali is lovingly and gently leading as Jeff reluctantly and knowingly follows that lead. And this is what it’s all about….finding that person, that soul, that fellow traveler that desires to stand by you, to dance from boat to boat and is also willing to GO DEEPER with you into the mysteries, into the depths, breadth and wildness that is life. I couldn’t be more proud, honored and thankful to hold this sacred space with you two as you begin this new journey. I’ve watched you both be present for the other in very powerful ways. So often we hold back, we stay on the surface of life because we are afraid what lies beneath. And that is fears power if we give it that power to hold us back from going deeper, from experiencing a full life, from feeling and knowing Gods mysterious and wild love. However, what I love and respect so much about you two is that you encourage one another to release into the unknown depths, to let go of the safety of your boats and your roles and you encourage one another to plunge into the depths of life. And now here we are…it’s time to take that leap into vows of how each of you will participate fully in this dance. It’s time to dive more deeply into your life as a united whole embarking on whatever the future may hold. Let’s GO DEEPER! Amen.