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Thursday, June 9, 2016

What being ordained means to me...

I'm ordained.  My official title according to the Universal Life Church is "minister".  The word is a bit deceiving.  According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary (on-line version):
Simple Definition of minister
: a person whose job involves leading church services, performing religious ceremonies (such as marriages), and providing spiritual or religious guidance to other people : a member of the clergy in some Protestant churches: an official who heads a government department or a major section of a department in some countries (such as Britain): a person who represents his or her own government while living in a foreign country.
I don't do any of those things, other than what might possibly be called "performing religious ceremonies (such as marriages)".  

I've only performed 4 ceremonies to date, and they were all totally different from each other and not religious in any way.  The first ceremony was for a couple who'd spent many, many years as a couple and wanted to have the financial benefits of being married.  The second was on Halloween (no costumes), very private and simple, though the bride was amazingly stunning. The third ceremony was for a young lady that I have known all of her life. She and her fiance, who was a member of our armed services got married in jeans on our property. The third ceremony was larger, more dressed-up (except we were on the beach and barefoot) and the mother-of-the-bride attended via cellphone and face time as she'd fallen right before the wedding and was at the emergency room.  

I knew the first couple casually and the second and fourth I met through social media Each wedding was beautiful in it's own way, the love each of them felt for each other was palpable. After each ceremony, I've felt honored to be able to have a part in such an intimate and vital part of two person's lives. I don't usually meet with the coupleahead of time.  I talk with them through facebook and on the phone, finding out what kind of ceremony they want.  I don't stick around afterwards. It's a time for close friends and family, not some woman who spoke a few words and said "I now pronounce you..."
In today's "throw-away" society I hope with all of my being that everyone whom I join in marriage stays together.  I was divorced from my first husband after 5 years.  I'm not proud of it, but it does happen.  When I married my second husband, we made a vow to each other, to fight for our marriage and believe in our vows.  We have been through a lot, including my alcoholism and subsequent "recovery", a separation, problems with ex's, financial struggles and much more.  We have managed to come out the other side, still together and stronger than I thought we could be. It's not perfect. I'm sorry, no marriage is. But if you love someone enough to marry them then you owe it to yourself to work on it.  
Not gonna lie, part of the reason for becoming an officiant is financial. It's a fairly low-key way to make a little extra money. I am also a notary public.  People need services like officiants and notaries and are willing to pay for them.  I make a little extra cash and provide a simple, stress-free option.  But I have a responsibility to provide a ceremony that fits the individuals involved.  It's my responsibility to make sure the paperwork gets filed as soon as possible and that no mistakes are made.  
It's providing Hope, Joy and Faith in a crazy, busy world. 

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