The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

December 17, 2008

A Wedding Anniversary

The Wild Rose

Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart.

Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

-by Wendell Berry, for his wife
Dear Pieter and Naomi,

Three years ago today we celebrated your wedding. Looking at you together now, I am reminded of Wendell Berry’s poem “The Wild Rose.” It says so beautifully something I think you both understand so well.

Your relationship is a beautiful gift, like “a wild rose blooming at the edge/of thicket, grace and light.” Love is a gift. But it is a gift that we can never afford to take for granted. It is so encouraging to see you both renewing that gift daily as you choose “again what you chose before.”

It may not be the most romantic vision, but love is what we learn by continuing to choose to move together in the same direction. Every choice we make for faithfulness, gentleness and commitment, enables us to grow more deeply into that love for which we were created.

I think perhaps we should use the word “love” hesitantly to describe a relationship until we have stayed in that relationship for many years. Love grows in the deep soil of steadiness. We learn what it means to love when we have walked through many circumstances holding the same hand. When we love with the strength of permanence we discover the freedom that grows in an environment of trust.

There is so much uncertainty all around us. It is hard to imagine what the future might look like for you and your little family. But, whatever the future may bring, you will always be able to see in one another that you are loved. You are cared for and you can always grow in your ability to love. This is the meaning and purpose of your life.

You can always open more deeply to the reality of love. As you choose the openness that is love, love grows. It embraces more of the world and of the people in your life.

The love you share is the true nature of life. It is the force and energy that creates each new human being and causes one season to follow another. You do not have to create this love. You only have to enter into the flow of love and allow it to carry you. The love you chose when you committed your lives to each other is deeper and more real than any fears, doubts or uncertainties you might ever experience. This love will sustain and strength you throughout your lives.

As you enter your fourth year of married life, may you continue choosing every day, to open to one another, sharing all that you are and all that you have. May you always tell the truth to each other, knowing that truth is the soil in which love grows. May you grow daily in your willingness to be gentle. May you desire to be vulnerable towards one another and to share that respect and honour that is so clear in the first three years of your marriage.

It is such a gift for us to be able to watch you grow together. May you always know God’s presence in your life, and the love that surrounds and supports you.



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