Tag Archives: Marriage

Promises to Tomorrow #7 Badlands

Vows are a solemn promise to the future. Not necessarily a guarantee, but certainly a declaration and always vocational, a sacred intention.  How do we bring our commitments to fruition in an ever-changing complex world?  The idea of a vow is an old fashioned one and connected to a time where relationships had their own time line linked to the longevity of a human’s life span.

I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honour you all the days of my life. Wedding vows

The good times and the bad times – in equal measure and yet sickness comes before health in the marriage vows, a secret code embedded into the transaction to let you know that is where the learning will most likely come.  Another hint of the future hidden in the vows knowing the days of life are limited and finite.

Loving you is also a key message – not loving some kind of preferred imaginary version of you, but you, a clever little word able to be singular and plural.  What if the vow refers to the plural – the you the couple becomes by being in union?

Taking an oath is sacred and sanctified by the witnesses.  In these days when the oath is linked to office or evidence it is a public declaration that brings integrity and honour.  It is also an opportunity to be humble and being willing to hold yourself to some kind of public account. It is a marriage with the people or with the truth.

Our world is challenged by ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ and so the marriage, the social contract with those who have taken vows and oaths on our behalf: delusional leads to dissolution.  The marriage between political leaders and the public is heading to divorce. The public prefer the good times and health to bad times and sickness and their patience won’t last as long as most marriages.

The social contract between those who make oaths and vows with us is under threat. Springsteen forecasted in Badlands (from Darkness on the Edge of Town) these badlands are the price to pay before we are raised above and are treated so much better.  The vows strain towards hope, lean towards fidelity, taken in dark times, cling to the promise of better days beyond the badlands.

Poor man wanna be rich,
Rich man wanna be king,
And a king ain’t satisfied,
’til he rules everything …

Well, I believe in the love that you gave me,
I believe in the faith that can save me,
I believe in the hope and I pray,
That someday it may raise me
Above these badlands …

Badlands, you gotta live it everyday,
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you’ve gotta pay,
We’ll keep pushin’ ’til it’s understood,
And these badlands start treating us good …

What vows will you make to the future to go beyond the badlands?

My promise to the future is a vow: to be true to you (plural) and bring my truth to our conversations in public and private domains; seek to honour others truths;  bring what health I can to places where there is ill health … and that will take me into the badlands.

 

 

Dancing with Speeches #35 Pachebel

This week’s speech dances with a classical piece of music. Instead of words, the speech was Pachebel’s Canon in D. The occasion was the 3880th registration of a marriage by the civil servant officiating. Witnesses attended in real life and via a range of digital devices and platforms.

There was a celebratory toast sans speeches to the bride and groom. From the 17th Century Pachebel’s Canon in D Major was written to match the beat of the human heart – could there be a more perfect choice for two lives being joined in a common journey?

Playing this canon at 60 beats per minute, the speed of a sleeping person’s heartbeat brings the dreaminess of incomprehensible love, where no words are adequate and only a toast by witnesses will align the external joy with the inner peace of the happy couple. The polyphonic of voices playing the same music together and in sequence is the pattern of a canon, and so it is with marriage, a sequence of familiar steps taken together, with the provision for independence with the depth of sound to carry and hold. A subtle, delicate progression may continue on regular rotation, as so much of life is routine, but is not unchanging.

The music blesses.

May you always find peace and solitude and rest for your selves as individuals and as a couple.

May you find the heart beating in regular time when there is nothing else regular around you and turmoil, disappointment or despair come to haunt.

May you build on the foundations of D major, the key of triumph, of Hallejuahs and war cries, marches, holiday songs, and heavenly rejoicing angelic choruses.

May this soundtrack offer constancy and fidelity to your shared dreams.

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Blessings between Saturdays

In between the Saturdays of the wedding rehearsal and the wedding, I went down to the place, between the trees, where we walked to mark the path to enter the sacred space. I sat at the picnic table and ate a pie from the local bakery. I was joined by three magpies. Two were fairly young and the third was standing at a distance from the younger ones. One of the younger ones was full of courage, bounded up and literally stood a few centimetres from my hand on top of the table, the other sang sweetly at my feet, while the third one looked on. I couldn’t shoo them away, they refused to budge. So I asked them what they were doing there … And they asked me the same.

I had gone there, to be in the space, alone, to prepare for the next Saturday.  On that day I won’t be there alone.  I will be in the company of family and friends  – all witnesses to the marriage of our youngest daughter. I wanted to see what was on the horizon, in the foreground, what the backdrop looked like and to ask the landscape to talk to me. The stringy bark gums shedding layers, the gentle sound of the brook rippling, the wind fondling the leaves of the old redgum were supported by a lively orchestra of parrots, honey eaters and … magpies.

My Dad was a maggie through and through (a Port Adelaide supporter) so I mused that the older bird watching on was his totem come to let me know he was witness too. The three magpies – a feathered trinity. It was emotional.

This place is a sacred meeting place for generations for the Kaurna people and I wonder what the elders would tell me about the magpies visiting the  mother of the bride on a day between the Saturdays? Perhaps they were affirming my action to take the moment, and holding me there so I would enter into it? Perhaps they were heralding me onwards and reminding me that between Saturdays it is right to stop and soak it in? One thing I was confident of, I was being blessed and loved and honoured and the Universe had sung my Dad to me and is with us, with me.

When I think back to the “between the Saturdays” of my wedding, I remember being by the water tank at the back of my family home learning the lines of my vows so that I could confidently recite them and not repeat the words from the priest. I remember wanting to be able to know them “off by heart” because they were going to last me a lifetime. I did learn them and I do recite them to myself from time to time when I need of remind myself. I have found that at different times in my life one line has been more salient than another – for richer or for poorer ; in sickness and in health. I was always a bit confused that richer comes before poorer and sickness before health. I am definitely richer than ever and sickness is more at our door than ever but they now come together in a way that makes perfect sense to me now.  My father walked me down the aisle of John XXIII as the sun set on a hot Saturday evening in February. Our daughter will walk between her Mum and Dad, along a path strewn with leaves as the afternoon sun reaches its height in a park at the back of a colonial courthouse where for thousands of years people have gathered as families to share stories and food and delight in the spring that never dries up. it was in this place she joined a croning ritual for my 50th birthday. It is a place I go to for making decisions, for respite and just to be. This place will bless those who gather and in turn we will bless the space between us as John O’Donohue has described ” in the parched deserts of post modernity a blessing can be like the discovery of a fresh well … When a blessing is invoked, it changes the atmosphere. .. It is ironic that so often we live me paupers though our inheritance of spirit is so vast” (xv To Bless the Space Between  Us).

This same week, between the Saturdays, a young friend bought back from his travels Br David Steindl-Rast’s new book 99 Blessings. My young friend had met Br David in Edinburgh at TED Global. They connected and his book travelled half the world with an inscription and blessing to us. The lightness of the book seemed to be a feather in the breath of God itself, being blown to me on the wings of airlines and in the care of the next generation … I am so blessed and so grateful! What a delicious filling in between these Saturdays!

I am being drenched by love. I come to Saturday confident that a community of creatures, indeed the whole universe, is intent on bestowing blessings that bring union to time and space, the visible and invisible, past and future.

On Saturday, at the wedding, I am going to read  John’s blessing for a marriage, and having sat on his land in Ireland earlier in the year, adding my voice to singing the Beatitudes as a storm began to roll in, truly I know the maggies are with me.  Never before has “when two or three gather in My name” rung as true as it does for me this week, between the Saturdays.

I come to this Saturday knowing that it is in the in-between spaces that revelations unfold and blessings abound.

Courthouse Gardens, Willunga