Monday, September 19, 2011

The Invitation...

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. 
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Have you ever experienced one of those days where, as the minutes drip slowly, thick like syrup off the clock, keeping time of the longest day, you find yourself losing your mind, your patience, your breath.  And, you think to your pitiful self, "If I could just have two little minutes to myself...just two little minutes..."  

Then, suddenly, your mind is deterred by something random, like the mail.  Secretly you celebrate, "Yes! I can go outside, walk a few safe paces from the house, and on the way to the mailbox find my mind, renew my resolve to be patient and catch my breath."  

For me, this happens at least once a week, and I cannot be deterred from the promising postal pod. Not by wind, nor sleet, nor rain nor snow (ask my kids, I have seen them stare quizzically out the window wondering if I'll find my way back to the front door in a snow storm.)  

And, every once in a while, on my escape to paradise island, reaching into the treasure box, I find sandwiched in between bills and junk mail something delightful, something special, like a wedding invitation.
When those ivory washed envelopes of a particularly heavy weight adorned with an admrable script happen to be the announcement of a friend, a close friend, Steve and I cannot contain our excitement. We love weddings. Perhaps it's because we are, for an instant, reminded of the sweetness of our own wedding day. Most likely it's because the grand news pulls us back into the reality of hope.  

Love always restores hope, hope that for me can become so easily weighted beneath the burden of negativity, bad news and sin - those irritating anxieties that sift into our lives, piling up before our eyes, blinding our vision of what is true, good and beautiful, the very things in which we are to place our hope.  Love is the beacon that bursts into the most remote corners of our hearts.  Corners that have slowly slipped into dusty dormancy, unattended, sleeping in the shadows of soccer practices, laundry, dishes and duties to many to mention.
Love between Sean and Barbara, the bride and groom, was a luminous beacon of hope to those who shared in their wedding day.  But, to us, the love of many others, those who shared our company, also shined bright, encouraging us on in our commitment to each other.  
This was especially true of one couple in particular, Luis and Carolyn Brown, a couple we were blessed to know during our years at Franciscan University. They are truly an inspiring couple, as Christians, spouses, parents and friends.  At every opportunity possible we came together to share our life stories. We talked for hours about our former college days, old friends, our children, education and philosophies of life.  Over copper mugs brimming with Moscow Mules, we laughed whole-heartedly over everything from parenting to Spanx (yes, Spanx).
This is the high five between two moms who know the value of Spanx and their incredible ability to disguise the rotund remnants of repetitious pregnancies.
But, in reality, we both know that those "remnants" are evidence of something soooo very special.
And squishy. (Not, you, honey, Charlie.)
And kissy.
And c-a-utie.
A little honey.  Yummy, yummy.
Ok, I got a little off track there.  Posting pics of my husband and our precious little Charles always derails me....!

There is a popular quote by Gandhi that, as of late, seems to be resurfacing in aspects of my daily reading or correspondence with others: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

I'm not sure that his words are always reiterated with emphasis upon purposes of an equivalent nature - the word change seems to be a bit obscured these days.  But, taken to heart, taken to action in my life, it might not affect the appearance of change on a grand scale. A sincere dedication to daily change, the small attempts and efforts to pursue virtue over vice, to live love in a sacrificial, unselfish manor, to say "I do" over and over again to those often uneasy, uncomfortable vows, these are the changes that when added up might some day miraculously become something of substance. 
When we returned home from St. Paul and wrapped our arms around the fiesty frames of five endearing boys, I couldn't help but rejoice in our love.  In the days that followed, I found, to my surprise that so many of the things I so often chant to my children throughout the course of the day had fresh perspective and meaning to my own life. Words like:

Be the kind of friend you want to have,
                  No matter how difficult life may seem, don't give up.
                                              Think of someone besides yourself, and 
                                                                                 Please say you're sorry.
                                                Look me in the eyes when I speak to you, and 
                                 Thank you, thank you so very much.

Simple words, like the simplest foods, that when taken in, savored, and digested might nourish us, giving life and energy to our love. 
Perhaps today, and every day, I might choose to live the words I proudly profess to my children in my relationship with Steve, and in doing so, those shadowed corners of my heart might just remain freshly lit. Shining bright enough be the change I wish to see in the world. 

How beautiful the change: no more divorce, and the flourishing of happy, holy, faithful marriages...for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, 'till death do us part. Amen.

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