Saturday, October 15, 2005

Anniversary Week

The Garden in Autumn C.K. 10.15.05

October brings birthdays and anniversaries. My mother turns 87 tomorrow. On that day also, my niece will turn 28 and my daughter Sarah and son-in-law Jeff will celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary. I have passed my birthday, spent in the midst of a funeral for a close personal friend. Perhaps this is what has given a perculiar melancholy to the celebration of our wedding anniversary this week, also. There is a renewed determination on our parts to make each day count, to take nothing for granted. Our muted celebration last evening included a leisurely walk to and from a local bistro where we enjoyed the prix fixe menu and much rich conversation about our individual weeks.

Some of you, who remember that the documentation concerning our wedding had been lost for a couple of years, will be happy to learn that this precious certificate was eventually located by officialdom in government records. (Click on title above for post from last April...funny.) So, do not concern yourselves that Rob spends several days a week out of town doing pastoral support. We are still married. I run Dawsonwood, care for my mother and support Barbara and her family, as frequent readers of this blog will have discerned. I also write. This week I wrote my husband a letter and this is the expurgated version of this text.

Dear Rob,
Friday is our 38th wedding anniversary...

You are the best part of this life-long marriage. Your commitment has kept us going when I have been ill with depression, when I have been weary in well doing, when we have grieved together, and even when medication has failed to control my anxiety and mood disorders.

It is amazing to me that you still find me attractive after all these years. And yet, when I look in the mirror today, I do not hate what I see as I once did. Isn't that a miracle? It has taken the best part of thirty-eight years for your vision of me to sink into my head.

These were things I loved about you from the beginning and still love: your wonderful voice, speaking and singing, your soulful eyes, your keen mind. I enjoy talking with you about life and God as much or even more than I did thirty-eight years ago. The passing of years has deepened our understanding of what it means to love God and eachother. Are we just beginning, after all this long time, to love the essence of eachother, in ways which were clouded by early passion and exceptionally high expectations?

Because we have come to understand that we cannot fulfil every need of the other, we have become comfortably independent. I want to continue to grow in my art and writing, even as you develop your skills as a spiritual director. These differences give us something to contribute to the spiritual growth of the other. Our strength has always been our ability to talk with one another. Your strength is that you have learned, when I am upset, just to listen and not try to fix anything. Having taught you that skill, painfully over the years, not knowing myself what I wanted from one minute to the next, I now wish I could be this way in all my relationships...just listening and not trying to fix anything.

The most amazing development over the last year and a half has been our growing common dependence on our relationship with God and our willingness to pray, even when God seems distant. This reliance on faith in difficult times is something which we share, though we might not always hold every political, ethical and theological notion in common. We believe that there is a Prime Mover, a Great Lover, a Source of Being. We believe that humans can have a relationship with the Source. We believe that that relationship makes a difference.

I want to start our 39th year with renewal...I want the kindness you have given me in my weakest moments to be the hallmark of our daily walk together.

I know that over these last few months you have been particularly taxed with worry over your new job and whether or not you will be able to do this Herculean task, and how you will do it. I celebrate with you that you are finding answers to prayer already...I admire, as I always have done, your ability to find ways and means in situations where others despair. This is a great gift of God in you and it is so exciting to see this finding fulfilment at this stage of your life.

I would have written this letter literally in ink, but I can't write as fast as I type and think. This way is better. You can file it somewhere and reread it and remind me of what I have said, if you think I need reminding.

I am glad I married you. We were impossibly young. We didn't know what marriage entailed. I was living in a romantic daydream. You were unaware of and confused by my needs for active companionship and gentle affection. We had not developed our God-ward capacity, even though we were so inclined. We were babies in faith as in life. Isn't it a miracle that the sufferings of life have toughened me up and softened you down, so that the incorrigible romantic and the logical philosopher can meet now on equal terms? I look forward to the best which is yet to come.

Love, Connie


Barbara said...

When you first read this to me I had to choke back the tears. Your love and devotion to one another has been a blessing to see over the years. What an awesome example of what friendship, loyalty, love, compassion and strength in a marriage can be like. Your words in this anniversary letter come straight from the heart, and I thank you for sharing this with me.
Happy Anniversary!
Here's to many, many more
Love, Barbara

Bar Bar A said...

Congrats on your long marriage, you and your husband are blessed to have each other :)

annie said...

What a beautiful picture of how marriage can be, Connie.

Congratulations to you and your husband.

daisymarie said...

As I read this, I am sitting across the living room where hubby is lying in the hospital bed snoozing. Your remembering gave me pause to do the same. We were young, too. Especially powerful me in your words was the image of finally seeing in yourself what he sees in you.

Continued blessings as you walk together, grow, and remember.

Deb said...

Happy Anniversary! Blessings to both of you as your move forward and the experience "the best which is yet to come."

wilsonian said...


So I Go said...

what a moving letter and tribute to your husband, and of course --marriage. this should be required reading for newlyweds!

thank you for sharing it.


anj said...

Connie - What a lovely tribute. Happy Anniversary. I was close to tears reading how Good has worked in the two of you. But when I clicked to elave a comment and read what Barbara has written, well, stick a fork in me I am done (undone). How many times I have thanked God for the writing and beauty that flows from your blog. And for that time at the Path. Peace to and yours today. Anj

bobbie said...

happy anniversary connie and rob - this is beautiful! i pray our next 20 years (to get to 38) will bring us as much wisdom and solid-ness as it seems to have brought the two of you!

much love!