Love is…Michael & SusieQ

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…-- Corinthians 13:4-13 

Photo courtesy of Steven Tutein, Total Focus Studios
My older brother, Michael, married Susie Q Wong this weekend and in a surprising turn of events I ended up being his best man. As a romance writer, I love weddings and this one was no exception. What is posted here is essentially a transcript of my best man’s speech and toast. The accompanying photos are courtesy of our cousin, Steve Tutein, a gifted photographer with Total Focus Studios. 

Love does not boast, love is not proud.  

In the last year or so, Michael and I started talking regularly—well that is to say, I talked; he mostly made snarky remarks in response.  At some point, I noticed a particular name kept creeping into our conversations. And that name was Susie Q. He never said much he just kept mentioning “my friend Susie.” So, I started listening to his words more closely, to the silence between his words. And what I heard was love. And when he finally came out of the Susie closet and told me they were dating I said, “No shit.”

One day Michael mentioned he wanted to get Susie a ring and he asked for my thoughts on how he should propose—he wanted it to be special.

I asked him when he thought he might pop the question and he said, “Oh in the next 6 months or so.” He proposed that night, on Susie’s birthday.

Love is complicated and simple.  

I was talking to a woman recently who read my first book, What Binds Us, which is, among other
(L to R) Vernon, Michael, Kenon & Me
things, a story of brothers. She has two brothers of her own and she said, “I loved the way the brother relationships were portrayed. I have two of my own and know how complicated yet simple they can be."
A while back Michael and I had a disagreement and I was really upset. He finally said, “Look you’re my brother. I want you to be happy.”

I said, “I’m really upset but you’ll always be my brother.”

The relationship between brothers is as complicated and as simple as that. And it’s fraught with history. If any of you follow us on Facebook you’ll know this story already. When I was little I needed to have my tonsils removed. It was decided I was too young to go to the hospital by myself, so they sent Michael in to have his tonsils removed at the same time. Keep in mind there was nothing wrong with his tonsil. And by the way mine grew back. About a month ago Michael brought this up on Facebook. “Oh, it’s been 50 years,” I posted. “Let it go already.”

Love is past, present and future.

Everyone thinks about love in the present and in the future tenses, but love also has a past. And the strongest love remembers and honors its history. I was so happy when Michael and Susie decided to get married in Harlem because that is where they met and their story began.

Love is patient.

I was in New York for my first reading this past April and Michael and Susie agreed to meet me at Penn Station. When I got there Michael was exactly where he said he would be waiting.

“Hi. Where’s Susie?” I asked.

“Oh she’s running late, so we’re going to go to a diner nearly to get something to eat and she’ll meet us there.”

I ordered but Michael said he’d wait for Susie. As I ate, we talked while Michael kept exchanging texts with Susie. Finally he put down his phone and I noticed he was smirking. He explained to me that Susie had just texted she was at a particular intersection. “According to her she is standing right there.” He pointed to the large window behind me. I turned to look, turned back around. “I don’t see her.”

“Exactly,” he said.

Susie bounced in the door a few minutes later and Michael wasn’t mad, he was just happy to see her.

Love is expansive. Love includes; it does not exclude.

When I was 15, our youngest brother, Kenon, came to us, a colicky, slightly cross-eyed infant. I loved him so much. We all did. We just swept him up and he became our fourth brother (even though he is actually our cousin), because love is expansive; love includes, it does not exclude.

I’m so happy to welcome Susie into the family—I always wanted a sister. But more importantly, I’ve always wanted my brother to be happy and Susie makes him happy.

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Vernon and I looked up to Michael, even if he was always getting us in trouble. I remember one summer day we were bored and Michael came up with an idea. He told us if we pried up one of the tiles in the hall closet we’d be able to look in on the people who lived below us. We were so excited. We looked around for suitable tools and finding them went to work. It wasn’t an easy task. We struggled, we sweated, we worked together, and finally, finally a piece of tile chipped off. We looked down and saw…concrete. I was disappointed, Michael seemed surprised, and Vernon was just mad.

Now let’s toast the newlyweds.

Michael & Susie, love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. But love isn’t always simple. At times you’ll be surprised, maybe disappointed and you’ll get made from time to time. You may even fight but remember love never fails. Keep loving each other and you’ll be fine.

Michael & Susie, may you be wrapped in joy and love all the days of your life. Congratulations.

Love does not live in a vacuum.

No love—no matter how great and how strong—exists in a bubble. There are always other people around, sharing in your joy, offering love and support just like all of the people who came here today to offer love and support. Let us raise our glasses to friends and family—we’ve never been closer together; may we never be further apart.
Feel free to congratulate the newlyweds, or share your own take on what love is by leaving a comment.
Follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter.
Follow Susie Q Wong on Twitter.
Learn more about Total Focus Studios and follow them on Facebook.
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