Before God and this gathering, I vow from my heart and spirit that I will be your wife/husband for as long as we both shall live.
I will love you with faithfulness, knowing its importance in sustaining us through good times and bad.
I will love you with respect, serving your greatest good and supporting your continued growth.
I will love you with compassion, knowing the strength and power of forgiveness.
I will love you with hope, remembering our shared belief in the grace of God and His guidance of our marriage.
“And at home, by the fire, whenever you look up, there I shall be–and whenever I look up, there will be you.”
(vows written during a lunch break on the roof of Group Health on Capitol Hill, Seattle Washington in July 1981 before our September 19, 1981 wedding at First Seattle Christian Reformed Church)
*the last line is adapted from Thomas Hardy’s “Far From the Madding Crowd”
…Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you…
Today I will make wild blackberry cobbler, facing down the brambles and briers that thwart my reach for the elusive fruit.
I gather more berries than scratches to prove that thorns must never win and I must not yield to them.
Painful thorns have always been part of life. They barricade us from all that is sweet and good and precious.
They tear us up, bloody us, make us cry out in pain and grief, deepen our fear that we may never overcome them.
Yet even the most brutal crown of thorns did not stop the loving sacrifice, can never thwart the sweetness of redemption,
will not spoil the goodness, nor destroy the promise of salvation to come, not even on a day when hopes and dreams
went up to the skies in the darkest smoke and collapsed into unrecognizable rubble.
We now simply wait to be fed the loving gift that comes from bloodied hands.
Who needs the icebox
when the plums
simply hang heavy
in the orchard
dotted with dew
in the spare pink light
and so ready
their golden flesh
warming in the sun.
This is Just to Say
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold