I save my love for what is close, for the dog’s eyes, the depths of brown when I take a wet cloth to them to wash his face. I save my love for the smell of coffee at The Mill, the roasted near-burn of it, especially the remnant that stays later in the fibers of my coat. I save my love for what stays. The white puff my breath makes when I stand at night on my doorstep. That mist doesn’t last, evaporates like your car turning the corner, you at the wheel, waving. Your hand a quick tremble in a brief illumination. Palm and fingers. Your face toward me. You had turned on the over-head light so I would see you for an instant, see you waving, see you gone. ~Marjorie Saiser “I Save My Love,” from Learning to Swim
Mist is ephemeral~ evaporates as the light comes out, unable to bear the heat.
Not so you.
I am grateful you have been beside me all these months of stay-at-home, never wavering nor wishing to be somewhere else.
So we now have confirmation: love that lasts stays close when all else dissipates.
To be amazed by love is not to be blinded but to let the flare of wonder fill you like air filling a sail.
Isn’t this the voice of God at work?
Even his silence breathes life into you, a golden sigh as fresh as Eden. To love someone is not to lose anything, but to gain it in giving it all away. ~Luci Shaw from “Amazed by Love” in Water Lines
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 fromSex, 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.”
(our wedding vows for our September 19, 1981 wedding at First Seattle Christian Reformed Church — the last line adapted from Thomas Hardy’s “Far From the Madding Crowd”)