I’ve been thinking a lot about weddings lately.
Last Sunday, Tikvat Israel hosted the annual spring Cantor’s concert, this year titled “Under the Chuppah”
The concert was amazing, with members of the community providing explanations of the various elements and traditions in a Jewish wedding. Over several weeks before the concert, the event was previewed with photos from congregants’ weddings displayed in the synagogue lobby, including ours:
Wow – that was nearly 20 years ago!
And, in addition, as many of you know, my daughter is getting married this August, and we are preparing to travel to England for that celebration, at which I hope to be singing a trio with her future sister-in-law, and a close friend of hers. And, as I learn the song that she has selected, I am reminded of the song that she and I learned, several years ago, that we sang together for my sister’s (her aunt’s) wedding. And I am having the same experience I had then – learning the lyrics, and thinking about the individuals that the song will be sung for, and ending up with tears in my eyes as I consider how appropriate the lyrics are to the couple.
I’m not generally a sentimental person, so I’m always surprised to find myself touched deeply enough to weep.
The song we sang for my sister was a song by the Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place (naive Melody) Lyrics
Home is where I want to be Pick me up and turn me around I feel numb, burn with a weak heart Guess I must be having fun
The less we say about it the better Make it up as we go along Feet on the ground, head in the sky It's okay, I know nothing's wrong, nothing
I got plenty of time You got light in your eyes And you're standing here beside me I love the passing of time Never for money, always for love Cover up and say goodnight, say goodnight
Home, is where I want to be But I guess I'm already there I come home, she lifted up her wings I guess that this must be the place
I can't tell one from the other I find you, or you find me? There was a time before we were born If someone asks, this is where I'll be, where I'll be
We drift in and out Sing into my mouth Out of all those kinds of people You got a face with a view
I'm just an animal looking for a home And share the same space for a minute or two And you love me till my heart stops Love me till I'm dead
Eyes that light up Eyes look through you Cover up the blank spots Hit me on the head
That verse that starts “I’m just an animal look for a home”… still puts tears in my eyes. As do quite a few of the other phrases in the song (eg “You got a face with a view” and this “And you’re standing here beside me, I love the passing of time. Never for money, always for love”).
I remember singing that song over and over to learn it by heart, and every time I sang it, I could never finish it, because I would be crying, thinking about the path my sister had travelled to meet and become joined with her wonderful husband. (I’ve later come to learn a little of the path he travelled, and it makes their story even more touching).
And, I wondered, how was I ever going get through the song at the wedding, if I kept crying in the middle?
But, when the time came, the tuneful daughter and I were able to get through the song without losing our composure, and the best part was that we were able to bring tears to the eyes of the bride.
That’s become my goal for our performance at my daughter’s wedding – and she’s as unsentimental as I, maybe more so – so, it’ll be quite a challenge to move her to tears! I’ll keep you posted after the wedding on how it goes…