Celebrant or minister of love? I'm both!
I want to share with you a funny little story that involves myself, a 102-year-old Grandma (god rest her beautiful soul) and the game of charades that ensued.
Now we’ve all been to weddings that just seem to drag on and on to no avail.
And we’ve probably all had the thought at least once that we never want to endure such a boring ceremony ever again. Well this was me and I did something about it. My brother had recently become engaged and I was NOT sitting through another boring ceremony – so I decided to become the celebrant. My brother and his fiancé just didn’t know it yet!
10 minute course online? Yeah right! It was a bloody doozy but I survived.
After months of study, I finally became registered as a Civil Marriage Celebrant and my timing was impeccable. I was never really keen on stating that marriage was only legal for ‘a man and a woman’ because I’m a little too fabulous for that, and luckily, I never had to. The ‘YES’ vote passed, legislation was changed and it was all in time for me to marry my brother to his fiancé on Christmas Eve, 2017 where I got to state that marriage is for ‘two people’ instead. PARTY! I digress.
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about Dot (the 102 year old Grandmother I mentioned). I’m just setting the scene. So I got registered, and word spread quickly, as it does over social media, all the way back to country Glen Innes where I grew up. But like a good game of Chinese whispers, the message wasn’t delivered quite as it was intended.
My father, very proud of my achievement, passed on the news to our good family friend Dot. Now Dot was a little hard of hearing, (mostly selective I think) and the most devoted catholic I’ve ever met – She was a true Angel.
So Christmas comes, and I visit Dot and her family for the first time in months.
Dot sits me down, takes my hand, and says she has something to say.
Now when Dot talks, it’s as if everyone else is muted until further notice. So I was prepared to listen. She said to me – “I’m so happy that you’ve become a minister so that you can serve humanity.”
Oh ohhh… it appears the message has hit a bird on the way through and me becoming a celebrant has been translated into me becoming a minister. What should I say? What do I do?
I look around the room and see all of Dot’s family giggling and nodding in agreement as if to say – “Go along with it, Minister Monty.”
So I did. I sat there and pretended that I had become a minister. I mean, who’s going to tell a 102-year-old that she’s wrong, even if I could have squeezed a word in?
Dot then goes on to tell me how her youngest son Phil wanted to become a pilot, but she said, “No Phil, you will become a doctor so that you can serve humanity”. And he did just that. Dot held high regard for people who served humanity, so she was thrilled that I had chosen to do the same (or so she thought). And just in case I hadn’t heard her, she went on to reiterate, “It’s just so lovely that you’ve found faith and are going to serve humanity as a minister.”
I was sinking, and fast! All I could do was smile and wave like the penguins on Madagascar.
Anyone who is familiar with the catholic faith will know that they have their own Missal – a catholic prayer book with the names of their nearest and dearest inside who they pray for regularly. Dot’s included her children, grandchildren and two other names – Simon and Monty. Now these names have been in Dot’s missal for many years and we’d always wondered how we got a mention in her prayers. Perhaps Dot knew that my brother Simon would go on to become a doctor and serve humanity, and maybe she always knew I would become a celebrant (minister) to serve humanity too? Who knows?
I thought this isn’t so bad – Dot’s praying for me, and God knows I need it!
A few months went by, and sadly Dot’s health started to decline. She wasn’t worried though and she told her family why.
“I’ve stopped praying for everyone, because I know that Monty is praying for you all now.” They all thought this was hilarious and so we entertained the idea for her, right to the very end.
Dot peacefully passed away in her sleep a day after her 102nd birthday happily believing that I had become a minister, put on this earth to serve humanity. And thanks to Dot and her belief, I believe I did become a minister. Not a minister of religion, but a minister of love. Dot, may God rest your soul, you sweet, sweet Angel.