I've been thinking about weddings for the past few months. Watching a son watching his bride come down the aisle, and then watching them walk together out of the church and into each other's future does that. In less than a week I also celebrate our own wedding anniversary. Different people remember different things. I don't remember the events of the day at all clearly, at least not as a narrative. Rather they stay with me as a dream, an impression of joy and naivete, and as something that at one level defines me. I have been alive as a married man five years longer than I lived as a single man. I don't know that there is some profound truth there; I simply note the reality.
Remembering that day (however hazily) I think back to meeting my wife, and to falling in love, and wonder how it all happened. I know that the feelings of "falling in love" have been less important than the settled commitment to each other that we share -- not "as long as love shall last", but "as long as life shall last". That committed love, an act of will deeper than feelings, is crucial.
But the feelings are there anyway -- whatever we mean by "falling in love". And as I sat watching my son's wedding rehearsal, I wrote the lines below to my own bride.
I wonder when I fell in love ….
So many years ago,
So gradually and gently.game long past
No bolt of lightning, fading as quickly;
but a growing joy and lasting light.
I remember a circle of people,
Young we were then.
She sat somewhere
Across from me, where I could watch her
Carelessly, or seeking her eyes (beautiful green eyes).
Did she watch me?
I wonder when I fell in love.
I remember the piano,
She and another both played.
The other was good, all runs and trills.
She was better!
Competent, complete, divine!
I know the process had begun,
watchful attraction deepening to love.
I remember walking
Under the trees beside the river,
(Though I did not know it then.)
She had a composure, a completeness
I lacked and desired.
Calm and controlled
(How little I knew!)
In a world of chaotic change
I felt the attraction of perfection
(though neither of us had it).
And I fell in love.
I’m still falling.
Beneath the music,
Beneath the lively intelligence,
Beneath the challenge of her competitive spirit,
Beneath the long hair (long flowing auburn hair)
And green eyes (beautiful hazel eyes)
And her body moulded to my touch,
Beneath all else I find
Love, Compassion, Grace;
Desire for God’s love, compassion, grace;
Her spirit more beautiful even than
Face and eyes, hair and outer form;
Her spirit seeking God’s Spirit
Echoing my own inner desire for
True Perfection, True Divinity.
10 July 2009