With all our love and gratitude, thank you Andy Tran for these beautiful words and blessings for our marriage. We love you!
Dear Family and Friends – Hello and Welcome! Xin kinh thua qui vy truong thuong, qui vy quan khach, va cac ban.
My name is also Andy, and I am so happy and humbled because we are all gathered here today to witness, (me officiate my first wedding). We are all gathered here today to witness the wedding of Sherrie and Andy. I already can see us settled in our seats, smiling, already soaking in these moments. We all chose each other – Sherrie and Andy chose us, we chose them, they especially chose each other. We are here because we want to love and to celebrate the love that Sherrie and Andy so unconditionally have for one another and the world around them.
For today, we put away our other stuff – the calendar appointments, jobs, World Cup…we all put it aside and choose to be right here, right now, with these two lovebirds, two beautiful souls that we’ve all come to embrace – we, the best friends and loving family, to commemorate this day, in which they start their own. And I am so humbled and honored that Sherrie and Andy have asked me to be here along with each and every one of you to commence their lifelong adventure as husband and wife. On behalf of our bride, our groom and their families, especially their amazing parents who have loved, nurtured and nourished them since Day 1 (thank you parents) thank you all so much for making the choice to be here and letting your hearts radiate love and resonate with the power of love that fills this wondrous space.
So as Sherrie and Andy pledge their vows before us today, let us, their family and friends, make our own pledge. Let us pledge to be true celebrants of this union; to open our hearts to joy and thoughts of loving kindness; our true spiritual wedding gift for Sherrie and Andy.
READING – Love by Roy Croft, read by Christine Abadilla
SONG – Ave Maria, sung by John Le accompanied by Arnold Yzaguirre
BACKGROUND ON SHERRIE AND ANDY
We’re all lucky to have each other. We’re lucky to be able to share life’s best moments together…like this one right now. Some of us are even lucky enough to have those friends we can trust completely, confide in, and depend on even in the worst moments; or friends that even after a long-time-no-see, it’s the same. It’s the same. It’s familial. Friends who are able to live with you in the moment and cherish each moment without ego or expectation. Friends who need nothing from each other. Just each other is enough. Those are your best friends. Those friends you ask to stick around. On the beautiful sunset painted evening of July 13, 2013, while dancing beneath the UT Tower, Andy spun around on one knee and asked Sherrie to stick around. And according to www.SherrieAndAndy.com – Sherrie screamed, “YESSSS!”
When I first met these two freshman year at UT, I thought they were so cute I had a crush on both of them. (I’ll have them both!) They’re so good looking! But my admiration for their good looks quickly grew into admiration of their character. A short few years later they would become two of my closest friends, whom have had my utmost respect and love till this day. We even lived together after college, had the best laughing and crying moments together, supported each other through our mental and spiritual growth. For the past 12 years, I’ve gotten to watch Sherrie and Andy evolve both individually and as a pair. Even till this day, their continual strive to better themselves/transform is the strongest I’ve ever seen. Constantly rediscovering themselves and falling in love with each other again and again. These two have had a huge impact on my life. I’m proud to say they bring the best out of me, and I’m humbled to get to be the friend officiating their wedding.
Andy: On the surface, Andy and I were the two most different Andies – our personalities, philosophies, and ideals were all different…one of us was way more handsome than the other. But it was because of our differences that we had amazing conversation (oftentimes drunken). We discussed, debated, and bonded through our differences. And through this process, we discovered an inspiring similarity, and that was we were both huge dreamers; highly ambitious, free-thinking, dreamers. Andy wanted to succeed as tech-entrepreneur and I wanted to any acting job I could get. But where as I hesitant to act, Andy was much braver and quicker to actually take charge and take pursuit of his dreams.
At UT, Andy held officer positions in both the Vietnamese Students Association and the Gamma Beta fraternity, positions in which he learned to plan and lead. A few months before graduating college, I remember meeting Andy up at La Tazza Fresca coffee shop one day, and Andy set down a thick book on the table, “Learn PHP in 21 Days.” And I looked at him, doubtful, and he looked at me, acknowledging my doubt, but with a smile, pretty sure of himself. Sure enough, 3 weeks later Andy had learned how to program.
Not too long after we graduated, and after a small series of end-quick startup business ventures together, Andy became a professional programmer for the Austin American Statesman. I was a professional tour guide on a scooter. Let me repeat – this Andy was getting a taste of success as a professionally hired coder! This Andy (me) was getting a taste of dust and rain while zipping through town on scooter… My point is – because we were in the same boat, two dreamers who didn’t know what we were doing – Andy showed me that it didn’t matter that we didn’t know what we were doing – what mattered was that we do, we start somewhere, we act, and commit to our actions. And I have that to thank him for. Because now, I have a car.
Sherrie: I wish I got to hang out with Sherrie as much as I did with Andy. It wasn’t because we were any less of friends. Our friendship was and is every bit as rich and meaningful. The truth is – she was always so busy out traveling and saving the world! Super Woman, this one, as many of you know, quite literally too. In college, if you were the ambitious one, then you mostly had the time and energy to pursue personal ambitions and dreams. Sherrie had that, but somehow also had the incredible inner call to empower others to live out their dreams through service and leadership.
As a member of the honorary UT Orange Jackets service organization, she devoted countless hours in addition to her already hectic school schedule to contribute to the community. As President of the Vietnamese Students Association, Sherrie lead us to win Texas Revue, our school’s most prestigious talent show competition. With her current leadership in the Room To Read program, she helps children in need, get the quality education they want. As a Yoga teacher, she helps her students develop mindfulness, reconnect with their bodies and inner spirits. I don’t know how to put into words how selfless and giving this woman can be, especially at such a young age. I didn’t understand then, how can you spend all this time/energy giving to others when you give so little to yourself?? Well if I never knew Sherrie, then I would have never known that giving to others, is giving to self. Loving others is loving self. In the grand scheme of things, we all just want the same thing: inner peace/happiness. That makes us one. Therefore, making you happy, makes me happy. And I’m happy that Sherrie has given me this gift.
Now I’ve barely skimmed the surface on Andy and Sherrie’s achievements as individuals. But where they truly shine is when they are together, as one, being in love and acting from love. They are each other’s best friends, lovers, teachers, soul complements, and soon to be spouses. The past dozen years has gifted their most passionate moments, most powerful and most empowering moments. Let us not look past their most trying moments, where their love was turned and tested, but they stood tall, with deep passion for their relationship, patience for each other, and persistence to affirm and reaffirm their commitment to each other. Afterall, “Life is messy. Love is messier.”
LOVE & MARRIAGE
We’re here in celebration of love. Love – a force so familiar, and yet so mysterious. Every one of us experiences it in all it’s shifting forms and it can’t be helped. We know it when we see it in others, we know it when we feel it in ourselves, and it feels good! Yet, not a single one of us can define it – at least not a definition that every soul in the universe can agree on. I’m certainly not claiming to have one. And that’s the beauty of it. Love is energy that affects each one of us uniquely, yet all of us at once. Some say it’s a cosmic vibration – we just have to raise ours to match with it and live in it. Some say it’s what we are born with, it’s what we are, and as we grow older, we grow a cloud of fear. But love is still seeded at the center of our soul, and it’s up to us to shed the surrounding layers of fear-based-thinking we’ve developed throughout adulthood to experience love in it’s original form, the kind we used to know from childhood.
The Buddha said, “Love is a gift, of one’s innermost soul, to another, so both can be whole.” Now I hear the Buddha was a pretty enlightened guy, but in the case of Sherrie and Andy, I don’t think his quote is completely true. These two aren’t two halves to a whole. They are not void-fillers. They don’t need each other to complete each other. Individually, they are already completely full of their own love, taking on it’s own form. Because they are also completely in love with each other, their combined love takes on a new, transcendent form, enhancing and empowering each other’s existence. They allow each other space to grow as individuals, to love themselves first, and when together, to grow even stronger as a unit. So to me, in observation of what I’ve seen in these two incredible, whole individuals, who have chosen, without need, to become one – what do I think love is? I still don’t know! But I can tell you what love does: it empowers.
ADVICE TO THE COUPLE
Sherrie, Andy – there’s not much new wisdom that I can pass on to you that you haven’t directly or indirectly passed on to me in the past 12 years. And I really wish that I could tell you what marriage is or isn’t, or how to make the best of it, but the truth is that I can’t, because I don’t know. In fact some day I’ll be asking for your advice. I look up to you. We all do. But every now and then we’re given the gift of lemons, in which case here’s a quick n’ custom reminder-recipe to make that amazing Shandy lemonade: 1) Keep it simple. 2) Keep it up.
-Not much is more important in marriage than the relationship between husband and wife. When other things become more important, such as careers, finances, personal pursuits, then it complicates and compromises your foundation. Keep it simple: Make the relationship your top priority (as you’ve always done – so keep it up) and everything else will continue to flourish.
-But never forget why you two have a healthy relationship to begin with – because you’ve always taken care of yourself first. Promise to keep taking care of yourself, mentally, physically, and spiritually so that you are able give each other most fully. If you keep yourself fresh and vital, your relationship will follow suit and your marriage will flourish. As you age together, you will do so with grace and confidence by your partner’s side.
-Don’t hold grudges. Don’t go to bed angry. Forgive, forget, and remember how you fell in love in the first place.
-If for some reason you find yourselves in a dark place, then sometimes it’s as simple as turning on a light. Our natural tendency in a dark situation is to look outwards to find light – either by placing blame on the other person, or running away, trying to escape the darkness. Doesn’t work. But if we take a breath and look inward, it’s usually our mindset that creates the problem in the first place as well as paints false darkness around us. A problem in and of itself is not a problem; it’s only a thing. Mind Over Matter – work together to switch your mindset, which will likely switch on the light..
-Similarly, Happiness isn’t always something we go out and get. Yes, sometimes we must strive for it, we fight for it, we struggle with every single cell in our body achieve a goal, and once achieved, we may gain a dose happiness. But it’s just a dose, the high fades off, and we need to go score another dose (of achievement). Through this constant cycle of suffering for happiness, we realize that sometimes, Happiness can simply be in the moment, so let’s live in it. Don’t have to look for it, because you’re already in it. Keep it simple.
This one is so simple it’s self-explanatory. In fact, I’m confident you can finish the quote for me: “Clear eyes, full hearts…”
Can’t lose. You already know what to do and how to be. Keep it up! Marriage doesn’t mean you’re starting with a blank slate. You have such a beautiful and rich history starting from, the day in 8th grade you both locked eyes, to your first slow dance together at prom, to the day you first told each other “I love you,” through everyday that you’ve celebrated your love and of course to this day, where we all celebrate with you. That is your slate, what’s next? We can’t wait to see.
There is no better moment waiting for us in the future than the moment we are experiencing right now. That holds true for every second moving forward for the rest of our lives. And every second we spend dwelling in the past or anticipating the future is a second we’ve lost enjoying the present. Sherrie, Andy, will you turn to face each other.
Let’s take a moment, to savor this one. The now. Because this is it. And I don’t mean this is all there is. I mean this is it – although it is nothing, it is everything you’ll ever need to experience happiness. Here. Now. All around you are the people that love you most, the same ones whom you love most. And of course, in front of you Andy, in front of you Sherrie, is the one you love most. The inherent beauty of this present moment in presence of all our joy-filled hearts is all we need for now, so…
Take each other by the hands, soften the focus in your eyes and allow them close on their own. On my Go – take a healthy breath in to fill your diaphragm, and as you release that breath, I ask also that to release all thought, all logic, just for this moment, exhale any and all anticipation of the future, and if there’s any bit of past that dwells in your cells, you can let that go, too. And even your current state of emotion, release it and allow for the next state and the next to present itself. If you can, feel the beat of your heart, and with each beat, capture the beauty right in front of you, and the love all around you. (And if you two don’t mind, Friends and Family, I invite you all to join. Are we ready?) Go.
You can open your eyes.
And that’s it. In the grand scheme of things, besides for food and water, now is all we need. Accepting the moment and accepting each other. Everything else? Icing on the cake. The immense love you have is indeed whole and powerful, but always most powerful together, right here, right now, and onward for every moment for the rest of your adventures. But hey, every once in awhile, have some icing.