After yesterday’s post, Feeling Alive, I saw that I had not mentioned those people in my life who make me feel alive and in whom I meet Godde’s presence and love. How could I forget?
I won’t go just yet into friends, siblings, and in-laws. I will just stay with my immediate family, this small community — or commune — that the seven of us make. Paul and I have two daughters; one is married, with two sons; the other is single.
Last Spring while in Manresa, a young man from Zimbabwe came to talk to Paul shortly after we celebrated our forty-second wedding anniversary. How did you manage, Kuda asked, to stay with the same woman all this time? I am not quite sure what Paul answered, but it was something along the lines of, It’s not always easy…
Paul is Godde’s gift to me. I discovered this after twenty-one years of married life during a Marriage Encounter weekend. Once I heard this, it became obvious to me. This was, and still is, true. Paul is Godde’s gift to me — a sign that I am lovable and loving. He made life more exciting. Life’s suddenly seemed more worth living — which is a scary statement when you think about it, because Life is worth living always — or most of the time.
Love is not easy, however. As St Paul wrote, “Love is patient, love is kind, not jealous, not pompous, not inflated, not rude…” Paul and I had chosen that passage from the first letter to the Corinthians for our wedding mass, like so many other young couples. After all this time married together, yes, it is true, Love is all this. It does “bear all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…”
Endures all things… Love teaches dying to oneself. It is only years later, years into a relationship, with many ups and downs, after times of great closeness and frozen distances, that one can see that love requires at times, not always, to let go of one’s hopes, dreams, or plans.
What keeps us together then? How is it that some remarks don’t drive us apart forever?
Well, after all this time, I can say that our twosome is in fact a threesome: Godde is with us as well as within us. Godde is a reality in our life; She is part of our adventure. When we joke about our house in France being a monastery for two (until our children and grandchildren arrive and then it becomes a grandparents’ home), we are really three in our small monastery, because Godde is everywhere — in the house and in the garden, in our hearts, as well as in the little church next door.
Maybe we are still together after all this time because every so often we still help each other Feel Alive — special, sexy, intelligent, good, creative…
And when we are with our children and grandchildren, while our ‘We’ often gets lost in the shuffle, the love we receive from both adults and children also help us Feel Alive: a hug, an attention, a loving remark, a confidence. Suddenly, the connection feels special; the heart opens up, warm and safe; and Godde is with us, because wherever love is, Godde is.
Art: Jim Dine, Four Hearts, 1969, found here.