Like Horse & Carriage

I made a trip up to Central and Northern California this past weekend to observe two marriages. One actually becoming official “before God and these witnesses” at a small chapel in Fresno; the other fresh and exciting after a couple weeks spent honeymooning in Europe. Both reminded me of the beauty found in marriage.

Ricky and Jessie came together in a simple yet meaningful ceremony. Pastor Jon officiated the wedding and delivered a memorable sermon. Nothing too long or heavy, but it was full of honest and practical wisdom. I remember one quote in particular in which he said (paraphrased): “In marriage, one half plus one half does not equal one. In this equation, rarely does each person ever give their full share of the fifty. Sometimes you might feel you are giving more, sometimes less. But if you are putting the other person’s cares above your own and you are running toward the other person to meet their needs, then rest assured you two are bound to meet each other somewhere in the middle.” It reminded me of the whole concept of giving, not taking, in marriage. Knowing the kind of man that Ricky is, I have full confidence that he will cherish, protect and provide for her with every ounce of God-enabled strength.

After the reception, Jeremy and I headed on the road to Oakland. The next day, we met up with my dear friend Deborah. We were introduced to her husband Jerry. We spent the entire afternoon and early evening together, going from church service to brunch to J-town to the piers over at Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a lot of activity, running into fobs at J-town and dodging fat birds, but through it all I got to see how Jerry served and loved his wife. They had that sort of chemistry that spoke of deep trust and understanding. I recount how at one Japanese novelty store, Jerry asked the cashier if they had a Domo ear-set to complete her full-body Domo costume. They didn’t have it, but Jerry was obviously looking out for her best interests. (Sarcasm intended.) I became a big fan of Jerry and I am glad that she is well taken care of. (It also doesn’t hurt that his hair reminds me of a cross between Beatles Paul McCartney and Super Saiyan 3 Goku.)

As I reflect on these two stories, I begin to see how they tie together. I think about the Bible and all its talk about marriage being a symbol of Christ and His church. How Christ in all his glory came not to be served, but to serve and make lovely His bride. How even when we fail or falter, Jesus is pursuing us with a passionate and furious love. He is fully committed. And He will not rest until He has us, wholly and completely devoted to Him.

This is what makes marriage special. This is what makes it divine. The world looks in to see what we have. It discovers, as a matter of fact, that it is a love triangle. Indeed, Christians are the most scandalous lovers of all.

Raise Dem Glasses

My cousin Galvin got hitched this past weekend… (Congrats to him and his lovely bride Alicia!) The ceremony was held outdoors on a hill and the reception was inside the fine banquet hall at the Diamond Bar Center. It was a gorgeous site.

They had also rented a photo booth, nowadays a popular staple at weddings. Here is the madness that ensued (because of the “ghetto” nature of these pictures, I have requested my good friend and rapper T.I. to write special guest captions):

Yo this be yo stand-up guy T.I. fillin’ in for mah boi Ma-in. First picture check it. Dis crazy mess right herre be Marty Mar’s couz Karen (aka Da Killah) commin’ from NY to represent. Special shout-out to Queens, Eastside! Werd. She holdin’ it down, cuttin’ loose on da goose. Pops be feelin’ on da JD. CY special guest appearance at da end, ya heard??

We be talkin’ bout dem Bonnie n’ Clyde in dis right hurr. Ma-in and his partna-in-crime K be keepin’ it real. Girl know how to conversate n’ got dem moves on tha dance flo. Girl got sum mad game too–a chick even asked fo her digits! She da GOAT–greatest of all time–plus one.

Awww naah….ya’ll ain’t ready fo dis one mang. We talkin’ bout some family biznazz. We got Ma-in, CY, Pops, and Mama Yan her bad self! Look at Pops wit da blond wig tryin’ to be Lil Kim or somethin’…but instead he be lookin’ like B.I.G. wit his quadruple chins n’ all (cop dat last frame). Dem dollar signs screamin’ bout dat paper trail! Check dat… Ain’t nuttin’ but luv like fam man… YEAeAAEHHH OKKKKAYYYYY! (Mah bad folks, Lil Jon dun took my mic for a sec, playa be trippin’…)

*****

Yup…so that was my weekend in a nutshell. In all seriousness, I am blessed to have these wonderful people around me and I am super glad to welcome Alicia to the family!

Mike & Jen – 2.20.10

Couldn't hold back the smiles...or tears. (Photo courtesy of E. Dinh)

One of my best friends just got hitched this past weekend. Mike Hasegawa, a brother whom I’ve come to know for the past 10 years, was one of the first in our group to tie the knot. (Who woulda thought?)

The ceremony was beautiful, and I think I appreciate weddings even more so now because I finally know how much work goes into one. (We stayed up until 3 AM the previous night folding origami for the centerpieces. Imagine grown men cutting and folding little pieces of paper into star-shaped spheres…oh yes). But everything paid off and memorable times were made.

I was given the special privilege of being his Best Man, and as such, had the best seat in the house and was an official witness up front to see it all. To be honest, it was pretty emotional seeing Mike. Knowing all that he’s been through made this all the sweeter. He started crying when he was exchanging his vows. And the tears continued when he exchanged flowers with his mom. I’m not gonna lie, I got a little choked up, too.

As the Best Man, I also had to give a toast. I had initially worked on a toast the days prior, but it felt too hammy and insincere. So, just one day before the wedding, I decided to scrap it and write another one. I put it down on scrap paper while riding the train on the way to the wedding rehearsal. You can read it down below.

Congrats once again, you lovesick fools!

_________

As I was driving down to San Diego for Mike’s bachelor party last week, I had a lot of time to think about things.

I thought about how nice it was to get away from my hectic life, and hear my own voice for once; I thought about how hungry I was getting and what Kyle and Ryan made for dinner. And as I drove down a little farther, I thought, who the heck designed those 2 big round domes and how did they get away with it?

I thought about our friendship–how it’s evolved over the years and how different we’ve become. You are about to begin a new, wonderful chapter in the story of your life, while I’m still searching desperately for my Table of Contents. I also thought about why you would pick such a questionable guy to be your Best Man, and what it would take to make a good speech.

After a week, I still have no reasons or answers to these things, except the last–what it takes to make a good speech.

I realized it doesn’t take fancy words or clever jokes or funny stories. It simply takes a good man. Speaking about a good man, from the heart, will make your speech good. Because you don’t have to convince anyone of anything, you just simply point to the evidence.

Now, a good man is not without his flaws. Over the years, Mike and I have seen both the best and the worst in each other–how selfish, stubborn, and prideful we can be. And a good man is not without his quirks. As many of you know, Mike has an obsession with break dancing, eating unhealthy portions, and taking off his shirts randomly and as frequently as possible. (My mom doesn’t miss seeing that.)

But a good man is someone who embraces this, knowing that it is God who has made him, and it is only God who can declare him good. The good man accepts this, and does his best to love God and His people with sincerity and humility.

Mike, when I first met you, I thought you were an oddball. You would come to my house, take off your shirt, and rummage through all the shelves of our refrigerator. I never had a Japanese friend before, so I thought maybe it was some sort of honorable tradition. I was wrong. I soon found out that no other Japanese person did this–only you. (You’re special, bro.)

But as I got to know you, I saw that you were a good man. You were the loyal friend who’d be down to play ball as well as talk and listen. You showed that you cared a lot about your friends and family, because you would tell us the hard things, not just the things we wanted to hear. Most importantly, you showed us your love for God by teaching us how to live for something bigger and greater than ourselves.

Unfortunately, over these last few years, we became a little more distant. Though we’d still keep in touch, we were both going in different directions; you were in SD, I was in LA. You left for UCSD, then once for Japan, and then once again for SD. Each time it was bittersweet, because I knew we wouldn’t be as close, though I was still happy for you.

But today, I can honestly say that I’m happy for you, because you met a great and lovely wife in Jen, and I know God will use her to make you, a good man, into a better one.

So, may God bless you two with lots of love, laughter, and little Mikey jrs. Here’s to a great couple and a beautiful journey.

Cheers!