Twelve years ago tomorrow, Baroy and I were married by a rabbi (my uncle--more specifically, my stepfather's brother) in a really lovely ceremony in New York. Two weeks later, for a variety of reasons, we had a second ceremony in Los Angeles, in Marina del Rey. That ceremony--and it was an equally lovely if less traditional ceremony, at which we exchanged rings again and said different-but-no-less-meaningful vows--was officiated by the brother of one of Baroy's friends, a truly wonderful man who is properly ordained to perform such rites of passage. Of course, within just a couple of years, life had done what it does, and we lost direct touch with him, though his sister--Baroy's friend-- has kept Baroy up to date on significant events in his life.
Last night, we went out with our havurah to celebrate our upcoming anniversary (as well as to celebrate another member's 50th birthday next week, and another's successful participation in a 100-mile bike ride for the second year in a row). We went to a place that holds a lot of memories for us: It was the restaurant that our friends M and G took us to the night before Em came home from the NICU, six days after she was born; it was the restaurant to which we took my father on one of his two or three visits to the area. And so we were sitting there, 14 of us in all, talking about all these milestones in our lives, when all of a sudden I noticed Baroy leap up from his seat, a huge smile on his face; seconds later, he was hugging the very man, M, who had done our second wedding ceremony a dozen years earlier.
I of course joined Baroy, laughing and exclaiming over M and his wife, and wondering how it was that they came to be in this restaurant, which is nowhere near where they live (and not so near where we live now, either). We re-introduced them to Em, whom they'd last seen when she was around two years old, and to N, whom they'd never met.
When they left, soon after (they were on their way to a theatrical performance and couldn't stay to catch up), we'd pledged to get together for real, real soon, and I fell back into my seat, shaking my head in amazement. Our friends, too, were open-mouthed over this coincidence. There we were, celebrating our marriage, only to have one of the men who put an official stamp on it walk right past our table, and back into our lives. That, we decided, called for yet another l'chaim. And so we drank to coincidence and love and fate and the people who play roles both large and small in making our lives what they are today.
Strange and mysterious ways, my friends. Strange and mysterious.