The love that endures a lifetime

potrait

A part of every woman and every man resists knowing that in all love relationships Death must have her share.
We pretend we can love without our illusions about love dying,
pretend we can go on without our superficial expectations dying,
pretend we can progress and that out favorite flushes and rushes will never die. . .

If lovers cannot stand these Life/Death/Life processes,
they cannot love one another over and beyond hormonal aspirations. . .
As woman is keeper of the cycles, the Life/Death/Life cycles are at the center of her concern.
Since there can be little life without a decline in that which has gone previously,
lovers who insist on attempting to keep everything at a psyche-scintillating peak will spend their days in a increasingly ossified relationship. . .

When lovers are able to tolerate the Life/Death/Life nature,
when they are able to understand it as a continuum
—as a night between two days—and as the force that creates a love that endures a lifetime. . .
Then together they are strengthened, and both are called to deeper understanding of the two worlds they live in,
one the mundane world, the other the one of spirit.

– Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Advertisements

Stability

There is a wonderful richness to be cultivated in the ‘ordinariness’ and stability of marriage.  I love our rooftop home and seeing pairs of jackdaws every morning, day and evening from the front and back windows of our penthouse apartment.

Far from being boring, the stability of marriage can offer a blessing in the form of fertile ground from which each person can grow to great heights.  It is such a joy to be at home, in the place that Steve and I have created together which is all at once comfortable and dynamic, vibrant and secure, familiar and fluid.  All the while, knowing that the ground of our marriage is firm beneath our feet.

“One has to be in the same place everyday,
watch the dawn from the same house,
hear the same birds wake each morning
to realise how inexpressibly rich
and different is ‘sameness’.

This is the blessing of stability”.
~ Thomas Merton

Spiral in the heart of love

Steve gave me this beautiful red rose for St. Valentine’s Day.  I love the spiral in the centre which radiates outwards.  This reminds me of some words by John O’Donohue in his book Anam Cara.

“A person should always offer a prayer of graciousness for the love that has awakened in them.  When you feel love for your beloved and his or her for you, now and again you should offer the warmth of your love as a blessing for those who are damaged and unloved.  Send that love out into the world to people who are desperate; to those who are starving; to those who are trapped in prison; in hospitals and all the terrrains of bleak and tormented lives.  When you send that love out from the bountifulness of your own love, it reaches other people.  This love is the deepest power of prayer.”

Since Steve and I met, along with the family and friends who belong in our circle and who delight in our togetherness, we are each aware of jealous friends or bitter  former partners who cannot share in our happiness together.

I’ve been troubled by the loss of a dear friend that I have had for over 20 years, who just isn’t able to have me in his life now that I am married and deeply committed to Steve.  I can understand his feelings and I also feel the loss of our friendship.  I can recall times in my life when my jealousy has kept me from truly embracing a friend’s new found love and this has caused me to withdraw my friendship and good feelings.   Underneath is all, there can be unpleasant feelings of hurt, rejection and envy.   It’s so much easier to become angry at the other person, or cut them from my life than to face these feelings.

So I offer each of these people whom I know a blessing and a hope that they will find their way to the warmth of love.

A nuptial melody

While we were on honeymoon, one of the guests from both our civil and soul weddings sent us a poem that she had written in response to our marriage.

She wants to remain anonymous, but said: “Friday and Saturday was like being in the middle of a romantic fairy tale – with the two main characters outstandingly elegant and beautiful.  All your friends were supportive and funny and obviously loved you both. Every minute of each day was so carefully thought through, it literally flowed… I’ve told everyone here how John [Mostyn]’s wonderful voice made the first reading come alive, and Susan [Neuville] made the spoken words of the second reading almost musical – I was aware of the ringing sound of “iron on stone”.”

And here is the poem that our guest sent us:

A NUPTIAL MELODY

The spirit of our love is here

No one can match what we have known today

And as the years roll on you know, my dear,

We can but hope that this is how we’ll stay.

This is no dream – no myth – no lets pretend.

This is for life, this is for life my friend.

As each day dawns,

What a melody.

My heart is light,

My soul is free.

The spirit of our love is here:

It will stretch on into eternity.

This everlasting love you know, my dear,

Enables us to know we have the key.

This is the key, the key to love that conquers all.

As each day dawns,

What a melody.

My heart is light, my soul is free.

My heart is light, my soul is free.

The stability of the earth

One of my hopes for our marriage (and one that is already being fulfilled) is for it to be a solid place of stabiity for both Steve and I.  When we first met and were living 200 miles apart, neither of us was sure where we would end up, but we knew that it would be together.  We were each lightly perched, Steve in Birmingham and I in Devon.  Steve said something very early on about holding on to one another and letting our world take shape around us, that home is here in the space where our hearts meet.  One of my visions for our marriage is it being a place from which we can each go out to meet the world from and return to for replenishment and grounding.

Centering is about making a place for ourselves in the world where we can both feel safe and supported. More than the simple task of “homemaking,” it involves seeing our environment with new eyes, letting it calm the mind and soothe the soul. In this peaceful context it is only natural to see past the surfaces – past the fatigue and trials of the day  to the deep and caring person we’ve married. It becomes easier to maintain our equilibrium and to be caring even in the middle of crisis. In the process we will also learn how best to soothe one another – in fact, to become sanctuaries for each other, no matter where we are. (Excerpted from Marriage from the Heart)

While I was working on my Earth table runner for our wedding feast, I came across this lovely blessing:  ‘Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.’  Details of the making can be found here.

‘How surely gravity’s law, strong as an ocean’s current,
takes hold of even the strongest thing
and pulls it towards the heart of the world.’
– Rainer Maria Rilke

A red, red rose

Red roses are the traditional symbol for romance and a time-honored way to say “I love you.” The most obvious and well known meaning of the red rose is deep love and affection.  The color red itself evolved from an early primal symbol for life into a metaphor for deep emotion. In Greek and Roman mythology the red rose was closely tied to the goddess of love. Many early cultures used red roses to decorate marriage ceremonies and they were often a part of traditional wedding attire. Through this practice, the red rose became known as a symbol for love and fidelity.

In the 18th century, a special rose language evolved as a means of communication between lovers who were forced by society to keep their feelings a secret. And the red rose came to symbolize true love that would stand the test of time. Staunch promising affection that is forever riding high is what the red rose means. The red rose denotes a true love that is stronger than thorns and can outlive all obstacles.

Desire is another facet of the red rose. The red rose expresses the throbbing heat of new love, a passionate expression of attraction. Red is the color of consummation, of raging desires and craving passion. The meaning of the red rose then is quite apparent from its color itself. The red rose speaks of love that awaits a passionate expression.

As the tradition of exchanging roses and other flowers as gifts of affection came into prevalence, the red rose naturally became the flower of choice for sending the strongest message of love. This is a tradition that has endured to the present day.

The first gift that Steve sent to me was a  perfect red rose that he picked.  I’m using the images of the petals on our wedding quilt which I have written about here.

“What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me here in my heart”
– Rumi

“The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.”
– Anonymous

“How did it happen that their lips came together?
How does it happen that birds sing,
that snow melts,
that the rose unfolds,
that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees
on the quivering summit of the hill?
A kiss, and all was said.”
– Victor Hugo

Image source

Our wedding quilt

One wedding tradition is for a bride to be to make a quilt for her marriage.  I’ve been working on a wall quilt which will hang at the altar during our wedding ceremony and then at the head of our marriage bed.  I’ve been writing about the work in progress here on my blog Inspiraculum.

This is the pattern for Cleaved, our wedding quilt.