A moment I didn’t remember. But they did.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

I got an unexpected Christmas card/thank you note last week, along with a generous gift, from a person I didn’t know. Well, at least it was someone I didn’t think I knew.

Inside the card were some very nice words thanking me for performing their wedding at their home eight years ago, The person went on to explain some of the challenges they had faced, but also enumerated some recent blessings. They thanked me several times for the meaningful words I had spoken that afternoon.

OK, this was weird. I have a pretty good memory, especially with names. But these names just didn’t ring a bell. I brought up my Google calendar from October 10, 2010, and it was all there. It should have been a memorable day. Not only had I gone to their home that Sunday afternoon at 1:30 to do their wedding, but I then went to another home to do another wedding at 3 pm.

I’ve been keeping a daily journal for decades, so I rummaged through a box of old journals and found the one for the fall of 2010. Alas, I hadn’t written much about that day. I had only mentioned doing two weddings that afternoon before teaching confirmation class.

When I sat down to write a thank you note, I reflected at how an event can be both unforgettable and forgettable all at the same time. What was for me an insignificant task on my to-do list was a powerful, life-changing moment for someone else. A moment that had faded for me was even more vivid for them.

I was honest in my note about not remembering much about that day. But I also mentioned how something as insignificant as a baby in a manger is at the same time a vivid life-changing moment for us. So are the very simple words, “I do.”

When you are on the officiant side of a marriage ceremony, it’s easy to lose sight of the gravity of that moment. Because of moments just like the one above, I remind myself to give such moments my best. It may not mean that much to me, but it means the world to the couple taking their vows. If they long remember the commitment they make when they “repeat after me,” then I have done my job well.