While I am actually hoping to officiate at a friend’s wedding (any friend, really. Shit, I’ll take a dull co-worker who I only know in passing) I just did it on a whim. I didn’t take it particularly seriously. It just seemed like a fun thing to do. Right up my alley. Officiating a wedding would mean I’d have a built in audience and lots of booze. Plus cake. Who could ask for more? But then once I received my certificate and glamorous purple chasuble, I thought–why not make this official?
So I went downtown to the City Clerk’s office to get legit. I wanted to be “on the books” as Pastor Saara. I was still grinning at the idea when I got off the subway at the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop. But as soon as I walked up the steps at 141 Worth Street, I saw a woman in a white wedding dress, smiling and as happy as any bride I’d ever seen in some extravagant destination wedding at a tropical locale. I was taken aback. Not sure why, but I wasn’t really expecting to see brides in wedding gowns. I thought it would just be people in their regular clothes. Possibly sipping Starbucks.
We all waited a long time. But we waited together, a collective wedding of sorts, and I learned a lot.
I saw rhinestone tiaras, cheap heels that didn’t fit, and discount dresses that did. I saw mothers crying and babies fussing. I saw proud husbands and cameras clicking. I saw worried parents and pregnant brides. I saw joy, fear and lipsticked smiles. I saw people picking out bouquets from this selection:
But most of all, above all and the end all is that I saw hope. I realized that at the City Clerk’s office, with your ticket in your hand, looking up at the screen, next to some idiot like me who thinks it’s funny to be ordained, it matters. Because love matters. In all its various forms, love matters. Love is energy and beauty and it’s the best damn thing we’ve got going on this filthy, glorious, insane planet.
So after waiting for two hours, watching all kinds of love make it official, my number was called. And I finally took it seriously. Maybe the City of New York knows this. Because those of us who are willing to wait in line to pay our 15 bucks and sign our names as “NYC Clergy” get to do so in a massive leather fairy tale-style book. I signed my name under Rabbis and Ministers and esteemed men of the cloth. Many kinds of cloth. (I expect my cloth is gold lamé.)
And I was proud. I was proud of the people standing in line before me. I was proud of the little kids running around and the security guard eating his lunch in the corner.