Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy St. Valentine's Day

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
  -Shakespeare's sonnet 116

Of course, the feast of St Valentine is a martyr's feast;
but the original meaning of martyr is witness.
Someone whose whole life is a witness to divine love...
And so on this martyr's feast I come across shakespeare
and read the poetry of a life laid down for love.
  -  marriage
and because all poetry is personal
  -  my marriage

I met my husband when my own lips were rosy
and my cheeks blushed at his arrival...
not yet 16, he walked into my life and I was sunk!
He had this deep voice and wore a soft cashmere sweater
green and cozy and I wanted to settle into those arms forever.

He wore thick glasses and had an easy smile.
At first I thought him shy,
but he simply chose his friends slowly and well.
Now I know it is because his friendship is a lasting stand.
I remember walking in the cool of the evening, alone at last
as we wandered along the sidewalk,
my 16th birthday party going on inside.
He gave me his sweater against the cool and I can
feel it as though it was yesterday...thus began our courtship.

He'd walk me to the gate of my house and squeeze my hand goodbye
I still wonder was he terrified for that first kiss,
or was it his same commitment to mean it
that held his restraint firm enough against my girlish longing.

First kiss came, at the county fair,
up in the ferris wheel...
back on the ground our courage is up,
Tommy James and the Shondells are singing
Draggin the Line and I'm feelin fine!

We wed on the hottest day of the year, 1975.
There were no strangers there.
Our friends and family decorated the hall,
provided the music for mass and witnessed our vows,
more friends in the band for dancing after,
took the photos, entertained (long tall Texan).
Everyone we loved was gathered there to celebrate
and it is still the best wedding we’ve ever experienced!

I have enjoyed his strong and kind companionship through decades now.
Seen him again and again lay down his life for love.
He’s done it with a smile, an easy laugh
With pleasure and glad for the chance.
And he’s done it with unrelenting anguish
and great personal sacrifice.
A martyr for the cause as they say
And the cause is steady and clear
To live a life of love.

We’ve had a life of constancy,
faithfulness, friendship.
An easy confidence in our belonging together,
A grateful recognition of how rare a gift we share.
Lucky us, we say again and again.
Simple pleasures of home and family,
Crazy love crowded around the table,
celebrating together the moments as they come.
Easy laughter in the flow of days to years.
Burdens too, weeping days and sleepless nights.
Known to us alone, shared like a blanket
on the sofa; we huddle together
our hopes, our dreams, our faith, our lives.

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