This past Sunday, January 20, Phaedra and I celebrated five years of marriage.
That number is more than some and far less than others, but it has been long enough to feel both the rich sweetness of marital friendship and the frailty of it all, perhaps mostly the frailty. By that I don't mean simply a matter of the fragility of promises made and kept and broken and clung to, nor of the bluntness of sin that daily manages to subvert our better selves.
It's the frailty of that moment where we stand looking at each other in the kitchen, wondering out loud, "How did five years go by so fast?"
It's the frailty of photographs that remind us that we are in fact aging (insert: sigh).
It's the frailty that returns again and again to the faithfulness of Christ to strengthen our hearts to be persistent when all attempts at consistency seem to fail. "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us a sinner, and good God this mortification of the flesh is awfully difficult business, we need help." How can that not be our daily prayer every day we wake up?
It's the frailty of that instant when we squeezed each other's hand tightly, because the Renaissance choral music we'd just witnessed at Duke Chapel was so beautiful we pressed into each other's flesh, as if to say, "We're in this beauty together."
It's the frailty that reminds us that we could never stand a reasonable chance of flourishing in this marriage without the help of hundreds of friends, and of the myriad prayers of Christ and the Holy Spirit on our behalf.
But here we are, taking very little granted, and deeply glad that we get to share this life together, and now with a little bundle of irrepressible energy, Miss Ruby Blythe Marie.
Sitting on our front porch on Sunday, we prayed the Morning Prayer from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, in honor of our wedding ceremony. We drank coffee. I ate a croissant. Phaedra bundled blankets around her. We recalled to mind things that made us laugh from our wedding day. We prayed for ourselves and for our families and friends, including those who wish yet to be married. And we talked honestly about the ways in which we resolve to love the other better as we go forward. It was a good morning.
So here's to five more years and fifty besides of living into this blessed vocation, so help us God. Le chaim!
|Our wedding took place at St. Luke's On the Lake Church in Austin, Texas. And, yes, those are windows.|
|And prayed and said vows.|
|We sang and cried and processed and kissed.|
|Behold: the beautiful Phaedra Jean.|
|Our little cloud of witnesses (also known as the wonderful wedding party).|
|That is an affirmative gesture.|
|Our not-so-little cloud of witnesses gives us a cheer.|
|Our favorite cake sponsored by Garrison Keillor.|
|And we danced.|
|And we partied.|
|And we danced some more.|
|And we laughed till our bellies hurt.|
Here is one of our favorite passages for mediation on marital love, from Henri Nouwen.
“...marriage is foremost a vocation. Two people are called together to fulfill a mission that God has given them. Marriage is a spiritual reality. That is to say, a man and a woman come together for life, not just because they experience deep love for each other, but because they believe that God loves each of them with an infinite love and has called them to each other to be living witnesses of that love. To love is to embody God's infinite love in a faithful communion with another human being.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit
|"And don't forget about me!"|