From Sea to Shining Sea

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Within five weeks I went from an island in the Pacific Ocean to an island in the Atlantic Ocean! First my husband and I celebrated our 40th anniversary with a trip to Victoria, British Columbia.

Back in the spring, our next-door neighbors invited us over for supper. While talking, we realized that both couples got married in 1978. Our friend grinned, declared he was taking his wife to Italy for their 40th, and pressed his point: how were we planning to celebrate ours? Well, my lovely husband stalled, we were thinking about Canada. It was all I could do not to swivel and stare. Oh, Canada! Yessss!

It turned out we arrived on Canada Day. Thousands of folk in the streets. A giant block party. Vendors, musicians, artists, mimes, bands, orators, food, dancing, throngs. A sea of people ebbed and flowed. We enjoyed the celebration, Butchart Gardens, museums, monuments, and cathedrals. And just being together in a romantic place.

Monhegan Harbor
In August, my sister Dorothy and I traveled to Maine to visit our brother and sister (in-law). We were eager to visit Jim and Kathie’s favorite spot, an island ten miles off the coast. Monhegan. We enjoyed the quiet punctuated by seagulls’ laughter; gardens, galleries, a museum, shops, and the little community church. And just sharing sibling time in a transcendent space.

Sea to shining sea. That reminds me of what my brother Dan says about pitching congregational songs too high to sing. C to shining C!

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This Repeated Wedding Procession


Note: We mourned the passing of our neighbors’ mom/grandma this week.  After the service, Curt and I sat down and wrote out our thoughts.  And Grace Will Lead Me Home has my reflections. This is my husband Curt’s gift of words to our friends.

There are three things which are too wonderful for me,

Four which I do not understand:

The way of an eagle in the sky,

The way of a serpent on a rock,

The way of a ship in the middle of the sea,

And the way of a man with a maid.

Proverbs 30:18-19


When I was younger, and when my eyes seemed smarter, I concluded that a marriage was best represented by the wedding ceremony.  Beauty, strength, desire, hope, vows, laughter, celebration, romance, honeymoon; all of these became for me the defining picture of a rich marriage.

But over the years my vision of marriage has sharpened beyond the blur of my youthful folly.  My own marriage has taught me the value of sacrifice over time.  My wife’s sustained love for me through the years has re-sketched my picture of a rich marriage.

I have witnessed many marriages that are in it for the long run.  These marathon marches through difficulties and joys continue to grip my attention and cause me to refocus.  My parents’ journey speaks loudly here.  But there is a particular snapshot etched indelibly in my mind, a rich picture of marriage, crafted before me on many occasions over these recent past years.

From the privacy of my own home, I have spied what for me has become a masterful image of marriage bliss.  Sitting at my table, watching through my window, an elderly couple has often climbed their son’s driveway to attend various family get-togethers.  Slowly, carefully, stooped and leaning upon one another, arm in arm–this repeated wedding procession has captured my attention.  Their destination was always happily realized through their courageous determination, but not without the pain of old joints, grimacing faces, and off-balance missteps.

Bob and Averil scaled with difficulty what for them was a steep climb.  And they probably never knew I was watching them, sometimes praying them onward to a welcoming front door.  I’m sure they were studying the ground for the sake of a safe arrival.  But I was studying them, for the sake of my own marriage, which has not yet fully arrived.  And one day yet future, I hope someone younger will notice the masterpiece before them, when Carol and I cannot walk forward unless we are walking together, leaning in upon one another.  Thank-you Bob.  And thank-you Averil.