As a culture we tend to imagine the world’s great love stories to begin in luxurious or unusual places, like at a café in Paris, or a white sands beach in the Caribbean. But love isn’t picky about where it chooses to manifest itself. For Josh and Shannon, it was a mere stone’s throw away from where we stand right now – the hallowed halls of Avon High. (Gooo Eagles!) And it was as great a love story now as it was back then – in their senior superlatives, they both were voted “most likely to marry their high school sweetheart” not once, but twice – awarded first to Shannon when she graduated, and then to Josh when he graduated the following year. And this very day marks the 11th anniversary of the date that they began to call themselves a couple. Josh and Shannon chose today to tie the knot in tribute to this momentous day in their past – but, being a guy myself, I’m sure Josh was more than happy to have these two important anniversaries fall on the same day of the year, because we dudes are rubbish with remembering anniversaries. Or birthdays or holidays, for that matter.
Before we conclude, Josh and Shannon will first be doing some gardening by way of a ceremonial tree planting. This tree symbolizes the roots of their relationship and the continued growth of their love, as they become each others’ family today.
Let your relationship and your love for each other be like this tree you plant today. Let it grow strong and reach for the heavens. Let it endure harsh winds, perilous storms and the bitter cold of winter, and emerge not merely unscathed, but healthy and renewed. Like this tree, your commitment must be as resilient. It must weather the challenges of daily life and the passage of time. And it will require constant nurturing and nourishment.
And not only is the tree special, but the soil is as well – it was procured from the gardens of their childhood homes, a representation of the spiritual and emotional nourishment that their families provided provided to Josh and Shannon throughout their childhood and their adult lives. After the ceremony, they will plant the tree at their home, planting its roots in the ground as they have planted the roots of their commitment today.