I offer this tribute to all those celebrating anniversaries of love, commitment and devotion. May your love be ever strong!
To Love is to Long for each other…
Love longs to be in the company of each other, to long to see the shimmering delight reflected in each other’s desire.
To long to reach out and to gently gather close to each other because you long for that tenderhearted touch.
You love and you long.
To Love is to listen…
To listen not only when you’re talking to each other, but especially when you are simply sharing your presence together in silence.
To let love guide your understanding. To love is to listen and let silence become greater than words. To love is to listen to what each other needs, not just when you’re talking about the details of your day, or how to do something.
To love is to listen, to let kindness and gentleness accept the frustrations and anxiety you express; to let honor and respect catch each word, each attitude, and each gesture. To listen is to embrace and claim each other’s emotions with lovingkindness. To listen is to keep silent when needed, to offer unending understanding over and over again.
To Love is to Lighten each other’s heart…
To Love is to lighten each other’s heart and spirit. To lighten each other through constant, continuing trust and constant renewing hope. To uncover for each other the layers of uncertainty, and unsettling ideas.
To love is to lighten the way, to remind each other of your true faith and strength that supplies energizing encouragement whenever needed.
To Love is to Laugh…
To Let love be laughter because it is built upon a heritage of happiness and joy.
To love is to Create lots of joyful moments, to be able to draw from a full resource of loving laughter.
To Love is to Linger…
To stretch out in all of love’s grandeur. To let your passion flow beyond measure, beyond all possible width, length, depth, or height.
To let time go by unnoticed as you live together a life complete in your commitment to each other.
To linger and bask in the contentment that love so abundantly activates in your hearts.
To love is to linger through the years together in the knowledge that there is no where else you would choose to be.
Only with each other, in all ways, for always.
MAY YOU ALWAYS LONG FOR EACH OTHER’S PRESENCE;
MAY YOU ALWAYS LISTEN TO EACH OTHER WITH HONOR AND RESPECT;
MAY YOU ALWAYS LIGHTEN EACH OTHER WITH FAITH AND TRUST;
MAY YOU ALWAYS CHOOSE TO CREATE JOY WITH LOVE’S CRAZY LAUGHTER;
AND MAY YOU FOREVER LINGER IN THE PEACE OF YOUR SHARED LOVE.
Today when I read about a Blog Hop occurring tomorrow through the on-line Bible study I am enrolled in, I decided it was a great opportunity to return to my blog. Almost a year has passed since I allowed myself the time to write here. Honestly, I admit to being swept into a whirlwind of commotion, because last year I said “yes” to God when an opportunity for a new job came my way.
We returned from the wedding, walked into church and decided to sit next to a friend of ours who that morning sat alone, without his wife by his side, since she was entertaining out-of-town guests. The service began with a surprising announcement that our church was seeking a new office administrator and if anyone was interested, you could talk to the Chair of the Board. I turned to our friend, who just happened to be that guy, and whispered, “I think I might be interested in the job.”
A couple of weeks later my husband Brad came home to announce that he would be let go from his job at the end of the month. As Brad walked away from his position, I began the process to step into this new role at our church. However, over the next little while, I argued back and forth with God that perhaps this truly wasn’t the best placement, that someone else certainly could handle the accounting procedures better than me. Lo and behold our church hired a bookkeeper, and I humbly mumbled my gratitude to God, instead of loudly grumbling my complaints to him.
At the same time, Brad and I found that we were mining the depths of our commitment to each other, as he struggled through job interviews and rejections. Thankfully a close friend offered Brad work with his contracting business, while we muddled through this difficult time. We struggled through our prayers to God, offering ourselves over and over again in his service. We strove to remain optimistic, to trust his timing, to understand the lessons we needed to learn. We prayed, we prayed, and we prayed.
After walking through eight months of unemployment, a job offer in an unexpected area came Brad’s way. He wouldn’t have envisioned himself at this company, but God had, and knew precisely when Brad should be placed there. We marveled, as we felt immersed by God’s grace.
As the summer and our older son’s marriage approached, we looked forward to truly celebrating the commitment of he and his fiancé’s love. A few weeks before this wedding I found myself offering up another small prayer of wonder to God.
I wonder if I can truly focus my thoughts to write the “toast of love” they requested us to offer at the reception. I didn’t know if I could find the time, let alone the ideas to create a worthy toast of love.
About the same time I received an email from one of the women in our church that she was going to sign up to do an on-line Bible study called, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, starting a week after the wedding, and could I send the word out to encourage other women to join her. Great I thought, one more thing to squeeze into the days before I took time off. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ignore this request? However, the title seemed to echo through my soul, I rolled the word yes around in my mind thinking about what it represented.
Yes, a yearning for more, an enthusiasm for more, a sureness of something more. Just like a prayer, a prayer of faith, of enduring hope and unwavering trust. Yes, a word of prayer that promises so much more.
I also had to chuckle to myself, because my repeated phrase to Brad as we focused on the wedding was, “whatever they ask of us, the answer is always, yes. “
Eventually, I followed through on the Bible Study information by saying yes to promoting it. I ordered six books thinking that if the response was limited the leftover books could find a home in our church library. And then God took my yes, and multiplied it.
We now have 24 women participating in this summer study and more are asking questions about it. I just ordered another batch of books even though the study has already begun.
And for me, this study has brought me full circle back to my writing blog, abandoned last year amidst the anxiety of what would happen next. When I read today’s study message I sent out another little prayer. I wonder God, should I write something on my blog and participate in the blog hopping tomorrow?
After a busy day at the church I didn’t think I would have the ability to focus, but I opened my blog to read my last post in which I reminded myself to be gentle with my writing.
Even as I try to bring this to a close, I am breathing in a reassuring burst of energy that wants only to respond to whatever God wants me to do. Has this been a year of wondering what will happen next? Yes! Has this been a year of being led into the unknown? Yes! Has this been a year when saying yes has meant wave after wave of more opportunities to say yes? Yes!
The words from this week’s study that resonated loud and clear to me were these:
Saying yes to God “is having the overwhelming desire to walk in the center of God’s will at every moment.”
Yes… to yearn, enthusiastically, for the sureness of His love!
By the way, I did manage to write a toast to love for our son’s wedding. When I said yes to that, God provided the words to come together. Check back to this website to read the toast; after I edit it to fit into this blog!
Perhaps if we could, we might hear your silent vows to each other…
Your laughter floats above the music of my soul, like a twirling current shaping a sandy shore,
One by one our notes appear, discovering the melody, understanding the harmony, measure by measure composing our love.
Your curiosity intensifies the depth of my dreams, like a rushing wind lifting the morning mist.
One by one our voices blend, discovering the melody, understanding the harmony, measure by measure composing our love.
Your devotion dances with the rhythm of my spirit, like a sparkling meteor streaking through the sky.
Rising in crescendo volume, our solos merge, forging a new harmony, measure by measure composing our love,
Our passion inspires the path of our future, like a soaring eagle swooping towards the precipice.
Our chorus encompasses us, combining our melody, intermingling our harmony, measure by measure composing our life.
Our promises glide freely and willingly to each other, like rippling circles reaching to a sheltered bank.
Hand in hand we will create our arrangement, within our harmony, measure by measure composing our life.
Our future beckons, revealing our possibilities, like a sunrise shimmering beyond the horizon.
Together, composing, creating treasures for a lifetime, measure by measure our marriage begins.
I remember smoothing the wrinkles in my white gloves every Memorial Day as I put the finishing touches on my uniform. Through the years as a Brownie and then as a Girl Scout I dressed to participate in the annual Memorial Day parade. It began early in the morning with a special ceremony on one of the borough’s cemeteries. There with tiny flags flapping over Veteran graves we solemnly lined up in our respective groups to march through the streets. The Macungie Band performed patriotic numbers keeping everyone in step throughout the duration of the small spectacle. In truth it didn’t last long, in a small town that measures a mile long and wide depending on how one views the boundaries.
I’m certain many other soldiers have walked upon that hill on their way to catch the train to report to duty, or on the path to a happy homecoming. Footsteps of servicemen and women echoing up and down Main Street from many years of dedication and sacrifice by veterans of various wars.
As the parade wandered through the streets of Macungie, citizens would tag along at its end, making their way toward the final destination in the Memorial Park. Many years ago a farmer donated some fields to honor those who gave their lives so that he might live in a free country. Later a monument with an accompanying flagpole was erected to stand as a continual reminder that family members who grew up and lived in Macungie courageously died in service to the United States of America.
For those who wished to gather in the park, the parade morning always ended with a service in the band shell area.
Not until the last stanzas of hymns held aloft the thoughts and prayers of many, not until the last group of servicemen stood in a group to a round of respectful applause, not until the last sounds of taps rose hauntingly through the shady trees lining the picnic areas of the park, not until we turned and walked away from the time of remembering…
Only then, did I remove my white gloves and enjoy the freedom of running through a park on my way home.
Today I join with my fellow Americans and humbly salute all those who have and those who continue to serve the United States of America.
The car had barely picked up speed as it left the school zone when its driver had to yield the right-of-way. A young mother claimed the road crossing the street with her little ones scurrying behind her.
She stopped abruptly, her instincts sharp, her reactions primed. The little ones bumped into themselves frantically looking to their mother. She stepped backward assessing the situation, looking towards her destination then immediately to her little ones. She swivelled her hips, and side-stepped around the little ones. Oblivious to the pending danger, the little ones ran in a circle bumping into each other again in their unsteadiness. Then she seemed to gather her focus. She pulled herself up to a commanding height and turned towards her original destination. Like the lead dancer fixing a point on the stage, she led her little ones in a confident, decisive exit from the road. The little ones hurried behind sensing the urgency of her actions.
At the same time the driver in the car ended his impromptu direction to the scene. He had been motioning to the young mother, encouraging her with silent and friendly gestures while his face changed from pulling his brows together in concern to pulling his smile upwards in joy.
In the course of the crossing another car had stopped in the opposing lane of traffic. That driver too had watched the young mother and her little ones. At the end of the crossing, both drivers looked towards each other, smiled and nodded.
The mother goose and her goslings scurried into the farmer’s field on the other side of the road. Like an audience that hopes for an encore, the drivers reluctantly began to leave. They had witnessed one of life’s most priceless dances, a mother shepherding her children to safety.
What if the mother goose hadn’t followed her instincts to lead with confidence? Her goslings might have bumped into each other and scurried away in different directions, lacking the necessary protection and guidance to survive. They wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn to fly and become the goose they were meant to be.
Lord as Mother’s Day approaches, I pray in unison with mothers everywhere:
“Lord when the moments challenge us and we need to rise up in a confident, commanding manner give us the courage to guide our children as needed. Lord, in the challenging moments we pray the prayer of David in Psalm 25:4-5 when he said, ‘Show me your ways, O lord, teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.’
As mothers we pray that we may show Your ways to our children. Help us to fix a point in our minds and our hearts so that at whatever stage, at whatever point, we are guiding our children with confidence and helping them to continually find their safe crossings.
This morning a goose landed in our backyard as a lone seeker of refuge. As the fog settled around him I watched him wander aimlessly behind the dogwood bushes bordering the area designated as the “prospective pond. “ Perhaps he tried to navigate towards the small wetland abode that lies just beyond the cul-de-sac, but unfortunately was thrown off course by the obscuring ground cover.
The grayness above merges with the paler layers lurking on the ground. I try to wipe the window to see the goose more clearly, only smearing a smudge on the glass, not clearing my vision. When I look again, he’s gone. Hopefully he discovered a way to rise up and find guidance for his flight. Maybe he realized he had landed too soon to a place promising a welcome habitat. Maybe the dampness encouraged him to seek an airstream that would lift him to a higher vantage point.
Following his brief visit I open the book on prayer I am currently reading, The Only Necessary Thing by Henri J. M. Nouwen. He states, “The discipline of the heart…makes us aware that praying is not only listening to but also listening with. We stand in the presence of God… with all we have and are: our fears and anxieties, our guilt and shame…our joys, hopes, dreams…in short, all that makes us who we are. With all this we have to listen to God’s voice and allow God to speak to us in every corner of our being. “
Sometimes when I pray I feel like I have landed in a patch of swirling fog, admitting my mistakes, but still hoping to find the promises I am seeking. I’m trying to acknowledge the greatness of all God does, while still justifying my prayer requests. Sometimes I come wanting future plans to be revealed within my timeline, reluctant to wait for God’s designs.
Lord let me be more like a goose grounded in the murkiness of a morning fog, awaiting the right timing to take flight again. Let me listen to you with all I am. Help me to reposition myself so that I am ready to hear and to find the place where you want me to be. Lord let me listen like a goose ruffling its feathers sensing the uplift of a low-lying cloud’s hidden current. Lord may your spirit flow to every corner of my being as I trust in your guidance and love.
I begin to pray, letting myself settle into the presence of God, knowing that He will be with me as I rise through the mist.
The bunny peruses and pauses to determine the possible merits of staying in place on the refreshing mound of snow or bounding over towards the trees where his body could blend into the bark mulch, barely noticeable to the next backyard visitor.
Oh darn, he senses my movement through the kitchen window. Alerted, his ears at attention, he instinctively hops under a spruce tree becoming completely sheltered, covered over by the bending boughs. I refill my coffee cup, grab my camera and breath gently as if my calming presence could resonate within him, while he huddles and reassesses his next move.
As I watch and wait, I’m not entirely certain that he is still there, the low-hanging branches obscure my view. Then a twitching nose stretches out to sift through the silence for any immediate danger.
“It’s okay, the yard is safe,” I think as if I could master a mind message to a bunny!
He looks up, seemingly to lock eyes with mine, suddenly seizing the moment to hop forward, flopping his feet firmly over the remnants of snow to a circular, protected area under the lilacs. I’m certain he sends me a grateful acknowledgement before he bends over to snuffle and sort through the dirt. He’s found a feast of seeds that only yesterday were scarfed and scattered by the hungry magpies. I recall pounding on the window in an attempt to make them flee from the bird feeder hanging on the branches.