More good news today. I am now in charge of a Commitment Ceremony.
I love the Mansion because I consider it a “Big-Hearted” place, the people who own it and work there care about the residents and give them love and tender care. This is why I love to work there and am grateful for their support of my work.
I was surprised yesterday when Ruth and Wayne beckoned me over to where they were sitting and asked me if I would consider planning and running their Commitment Ceremony, scheduled for May 15.
It was the second time they asked me. Mansion officials met with them this morning to determine what they wanted, and they were clear.
Ruth can be direct sometimes, when she wants to talk, she yells “Hey, Come Here,” and then talks in a whisper. But she knows her mind.
There was talk of bringing in a minister, but that was when we were planning a wedding, not a commitment ceremony, the two are similar but different. I am delighted, really, nobody has ever chosen me in place of a minister for anything.
So I can continue my “commitment” planning chores, and will add another to it – running a ceremony. This is important to me, it transcends Ruth and Wayne.
First off, it is about the Mansion, which is a Big Hearted place, which is why I appreciate it and the residents feel safe and cared for there.
From the top, there a tone about the place which preaches compassion and empathy. The people who work there are some of the nicest people I have ever met, from Kassi, the Mansion Director, right down to aides like Brittany and Tia and staff like Bonnie and Julie.
It is a very significant thing when two people in an assisted care facility choose to seek out and celebrate love rather than vanish from the consciousness of the world. This Commitment Ceremony might seem like a small thing but it is really a big thing, much bigger than any two people.
I explained to Wayne and Ruth yesterday that a Commitment Ceremony is similar to a conventional wedding in many ways, but it has become popular in recent years, gay couples promoted the idea before their marriages were legalized, and now, all kinds of people choose a Commit Ceremony over a wedding.
I said there is no marriage certificate. “Can we say we are married,” Ruth asked?
No, I said, you’re not married, you are committed to one another, for as long as you are in love. You can leave the relationship at any time.
The larger message is that older people, impaired people, don’t have to give up on love, and the Mansion is a place that celebrates love. And so do I.
Ruth and Wayne understand what they are doing. I suggested they have no fights for awhile.
I’m already at work collecting readings and poems for the ceremony, arranging for flowers, food and music dickering and negotiating for the best prices. I’m thinking of a ceremony that runs between 20 and 30 minutes. I want to talk openly about a Commitment Ceremony – the first ever at the Mansion – what it is and what it means, especially in the context of assisted care.
This is a great honor for me, it makes the heart and soul sing. I believe strongly in older people joining the rest of the world in ritual and freedom.
I’ll share the process with you.
If you wish to contribute to the wedding, that would be welcome. You can donate via Paypal, [email protected] or by mail, Jon Katz, Commitment Ceremony, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.
And thanks. This is a ride I will cherish.