Real Help for Real Living: My Son’s Italian Wedding… Part 1

by Rev. Tony Marciano

A few weeks ago my son got married to an incredible woman, and I’m so excited for the two of them. Better yet, I’ve calculated that with him moving out the savings in food expenses will be significant. His food bill is no longer my problem.

Weddings are an important part of my heritage. As an Italian in New Jersey, you’re allowed to mess up a lot of things in your life as long as one of those wasn’t your wedding day.

Prior to the wedding, the bride and I had some great conversations about what I expected of the reception. We laughed because our menu selections were radically different. I quickly  realized my New Jersey-Italian wedding traditions wouldn’t fly down here; yet, I wasn’t prepared to lose them.

So, we compromised.  I was in charge of the rehearsal dinner and she was in charge of the reception. The Godfather was coming to Charlotte.

This would be a very special wedding rehearsal. Having attended my share of weddings, I’ve seen folks arrive to rehearsals in T-shirts, shorts and even flip-flops. This rehearsal was gonna be different.

All attendees were clearly told they were to wear suits (not sports jackets!) and dresses. This was going to be one memorable wedding rehearsal dinner.

The food was an important part of the rehearsal dinner. I called every Italian restaurant in Charlotte, telling them what I wanted. I didn’t want their menu. I wanted something very traditional. We would start with honeydew wrapped in prosicutti (which is pronounced brr..zoo..ta). It symbolized both the sweetness and bitterness of marriage.

Music also would  be very important. We were not going to plug my son’s iPod into speakers. I needed special music and wanted to hear the music of the greats I grew up with – like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. One night at a Goodwill store, I heard a great Dean Martin song. But when I heard the same song a third time, I knew it wasn’t the PA system. Instead, it was a family testing out a CD player in the electronic area. I asked them for the CD when they were done. They looked at me a little confused, but gave it to me. It was a collection of Dean Martin singing big band songs. I was in heaven.

One song took me back to when I was 2 – “Volare.” Back then, I could hum or sing it before I could even speak. But there was one song I struggled with. I’d heard it a million times. You’ve heard it. “You’re nobody till somebody loves you.”

It was a classic Dean Martin love song. Growing up, I didn’t think anything about it. Now as a middle-aged man, I saw it very differently.

Imagine being nobody unless someone else loves you. Defining ourselves in the context of having a boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife is like combining a half with another half – you don’t get a whole. Rather you have two half people who need someone else to make them feel complete.

As a Christian, I thought about how this could be seen from God’s perspective. Unlike what Dean Martin sang, God would never say, “You’re nobody till somebody loves you.”

God says, “I love you. You are somebody because you are loved. I love you.”

How much does God love us? There is a scripture verse that challenges us to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height and depth of God’s love.

Dean Martin may have sung great music. I wish the lyrics of his song said, “You’re somebody cause somebody loves you.” That somebody is God.

I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well my friend.

The Rev. Tony Marciano is executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission, which provides a free, long-term Christian recovery program for men and women addicted to drugs and alcohol.

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