Do you believe in Karma? I do. I think that I have always been a generous person, however, since I have started the Year of Giving I have noticed more people being generous toward me. Are people really more generous, or am I merely paying more attention? Impossible to know, however, today was an excellent example of kindness coming back to me.
My brother is getting married February 13th. He and his fiancée asked that I marry them. By the way, I am not a minister, nor have I ever performed a wedding. So I am venturing into uncharted territory.
In order to perform a wedding in the District of Columbia, there are a series of hoops that you must jump through. First you must be ordained. The Universal Life Church Monastery is an organization that has more liberal requirements to become ordained for the purposes of performing ceremonies. So, I got ordained.
Then I gathered all the information that DC requires and went down to the Superior Court of DC only to be told that I was missing a copy of the founding documents for the ULC. I told them that the ULC didn’t provide such information, and they replied, “That is not true. We receive applications all the time from the ULC and the other applications have the founding documents attached.” So, I said, “well, if you already have copies of the founding documents, then why do you need me to provide you a copy?” The women smiled and said that that was irrelevant. Bureaucracy! She said a simpler way was to find another ordained individual from the ULC who could endorse me. The problem is that I don’t know anyone, much less someone in DC, who is ordained by the ULC.
The office courthouse was open for another hour, so I called the ULC and asked them to fax over the documentation. They agreed, but I didn’t think they would get there in time. Just about this time, another guy in the lobby said he overheard my conversation and told me that he was also ordained through the ULC and was going through the same process. He introduces himself to me as Mac. He didn’t need all the paperwork that I did, because he got endorsed. Mac thought that I might be able to use some of his documentation. Lucky for me, he is a little further along in the process (he arrived at 1pm, I arrived at 3:45pm). Then the light bulb went off. Once he is registered, he could then endorse me! We were just minutes away in theory to them finalizing his process. I say “in theory” because there is a lot of walking back and forth to other offices and statements like, “that’s up to the judge to decide.”
While Mac goes up to talk to one of the clerks, I found myself talking to Mac’s two friends that are with him: Cyndi and Vanessa. Cyndi flew in from Chicago to surprise Vanessa for her birthday on Saturday (Happy birthday Vanessa!) Vanessa is the person that Mac is going to marry in the Spring. All three met in high school in Oklahoma. Phew, I feel like a family tree might be helpful here. Anyway, we were talking about how good things were happening to me and I told them about my Year of Giving.
I decided to give Cyndi my $10 for the day. The 29-year-old tells me that she is an accountant in the Windy City. So I am thinking that she must have a good grasp on numbers and money. I asked her what she was going to do with the $10 and she said that she was either going to give it to a homeless woman and her son who she sees every day near her office or buy some cocktails. A smile comes across her face as she realizes how much her two answers are polar opposites. After the day they have had at the DC court, I am leaning in the direction of the cocktails. She says she will circle back with me and let me know what she ends up doing with it.
About this time Mac finds his way back over to the dozen chairs that sit along the perimeter of the room. He says that he is now legally able to perform wedding ceremonies in DC. Rather than me wait for my paperwork, since Mac is now “official” he is able to endorse my application. This was a tremendous help to me. Despite having spent most of his afternoon at the courthouse, he graciously agrees to remain there a little while longer to help me out. We are finally called up to the clerk’s desk and she asks him to raise his right hand and swear that the information that he has supplied is true to the best of his knowledge. He does so and she says he is free to go. He leaves a dollar on the desk to pay for the notary fee. I tell him to keep it, but he insists. Mac, I owe you…more than a dollar. Let me buy you a drink when you are back in DC (Mac lives in NYC).
I got most of the process done that day. I just have to go back on Monday and stand before the judge and then I am told that the process should be complete. If anyone has any good advice for me about performing the wedding ceremony, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.