I got wind of a writing gig a few weeks back…and I wound up spitting the bit.
The client (in this case) had a little bit to do with my reluctance: my wife Gerri. Noting that the date of our 40th wedding anniversary was rapidly approaching, she suggested that I pen some reflections on marriage, something that could perhaps edify our now-adult children.
In theory, it sounded like a great idea. I’ve been writing professionally for virtually all of those 40 years – so why not apply that skillset to my own lived experience?
But no sooner had the client proposed the project…than I froze up like a moon orbiting Pluto in the Kuiper Belt.
‘No way can I do that,’ I thought. And as I wrestled with my reluctance, it became increasingly clear why I hesitated: because both the client and the intended audience can see right through me. They know me better than I know myself. So what could I possibly reveal in any such essay…that wouldn’t strike them as old news…or utter BS?
And you know what? Gerri forgave my recalcitrance.
She acknowledged it…and let it go.
If I had to identify a single driver behind our 40 years together, I think that’s it…right there: Gerri forgives me, even as she challenges me to be something better than I’m inclined to be on my own. (And I do my best to return the favor.)
We call ourselves ‘Paradise Partners’ – and there are lots of days when it’s actually the truth…when we manage to show Christ to each other, to be instruments of grace for each other. Lots MORE of those days today (thanks be to God!) than when we were first getting started…when I was a bit too thick-headed, even to understand my need for grace.
I am so grateful to Gerri, that she has nurtured this grace (God’s very presence!) in herself through the years…and that she continues to be so generous in sharing what she has nurtured with me.
I am so grateful, too, to our children – Chris, Brian and Ellen. Their life-marking events across those 40 years have been some of the most joy-filled days I’ve ever experienced – particularly the ones that have expanded our family to include spouses, grandchildren and the Society of Jesus. (You can hear Chris reflect on his vocation to the priesthood in this recent radio interview/podcast.)
All of which kinda validates my point about writing something to edify this loving little crowd: The vast majority of the time, it is they who edify me.
It is they who’ve shown me the truth in this intriguing imagery, once shared by Jesus:
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all he has and buys that field; again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
(Matthew 13: 44-45)
So thank you, Gerri. And thank you, Chris…and Brian and Sarah and Hannah…and Ellen and Shane and Francis and Jonah…for all you’ve done, to make the kingdom come in my life – lo, these 40 years and counting!
The gang’s all here at Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria for a fun family celebration of our 40th!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.
john –you have already hit the core of love =admitting my own weakness and imperfection and beauty to the other -and realizing my own desparate need for mercy and acceptance and encouragement from the other and from god! =the deep source of our comm-union
–but i loved your image of the moon orbiting the kuiper belt -yes frozen but often much deep churning and powerful energy deep within =share that w your beloved and you see god in each other and become god for each other and all
-thanks -john reiker