Thirty Nine Years Ago Today

Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed,
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in.

~Wendell Berry from “The Country of Marriage”

I want to remember us this way—
late September sun streaming through
the window, bread loaves and golden
bunches of grapes on the table,
spoonfuls of hot soup rising
to our lips, filling us
with what endures.
~Peter Pereira from “A Pot of Red Lentils”

Lovers must not live for themselves alone. 
They must finally turn their gaze at one another
back toward the community. 
If they had only themselves to consider,
lovers would not need to marry,
but they must think of others and of other things. 
They say their vows to the community as much as to one another,
and the community gathers around them
to hear and to wish them well, on their behalf and on its own. 

It gathers around them because it understands how necessary,
how joyful, and how fearful this joining is. 
These lovers, pledging themselves to one another “until death,”
are giving themselves away… 
Lovers, then, “die” into their union with one another
as a soul “dies” into its union with God. 

And so, here, at the very heart of community life,
we find … this momentous giving. 
If the community cannot protect this giving,
it can protect nothing—and our time is proving that this is so.
~Wendell Berry from Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community

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.”

(wedding 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”

13 thoughts on “Thirty Nine Years Ago Today

  1. Happy congratulatory thoughts! I love this–every word, every color, every smile–REAL! It reminds me of the title of Jan Karon’s book about her characters’ wedding–“A Common Life”–and makes me envy the sweet beauty of your wedding! Mine, 63 years ago was the old-fashioned formal style–ordinary–although our long life together has been full of life, love, and adventure, by God’s grace. Obviously, yours has too–with much more still to come! I’m so happy for you!

    Liked by 1 person


    (an anniversay gift)

    She ambles barefoot in pasture.
    Her toes sift earth and memory
    flown wild as long-ago birds—

    but in her hair lie the pale petals
    of the wild rose, and the scent
    of wild apple ripens into words.

    Paul Halupa
    Hayden Bridge, Oregon

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Re: EBB 43
    How I do love thee! No need to count the ways,
    but should you want reminding, pray listen as I say, I love you to the depth and breadth and height and all of that. My soul’s a blaze upon your shore, my heart’s a feral cat. My love is quiet, my love is loud, she knows not day or night. Your tender touch alarms me so, I’m sure it must be right- to love you freely, full, and pure, and bend to passion strong. Through smiles and tears I’ll treasure you and sing our lovers’ song. My grief is gone, my anger fades, in you I’ve held a friend I’ll love still better some
    place else, God willing in the end. RBB 1998

    Liked by 1 person

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