13 Years of Marriage + Community

Thirteen years ago we said, “I do.”  It was a blazing hot day in mid September.  We were betting on something that might last and wanting something that might be better than either of us knew how to hope for back then.  I having been married before came up the aisle determined to make things work.  You having been grounded in your life and work on the farm knew how to make things work no matter the cost.  Together-we’ve lived out the years building up the courage to speak our minds, follow our hearts, do what’s right, and burn our own path.

You’ve blessed me with four beautiful children-each one wearing your dark brown eyes.  They are a mix and match of the two of us-yet even better as we allow them to grow up to be who they were born to be.  As the years go by we continue giving up parts of ourselves in order to help others find themselves.  Surrounded by inspiring people we pick up new thoughts and ideas we never knew or expected to believe.  This brings me closer to you-you closer to me-in ways that we never knew possible.  Praise God.

I thank you for encouraging me to be myself, to be curious, to stand up for what’s right, to have big feelings.  May I always appreciate you-your quiet, hard working, determined, loving spirit.  As time goes by my desire to support and encourage you increases.  You’ve never asked for that on your own, but I see the need in your eyes.  The need to know that your compassion and willingness to serve so freely can be met with all the things you need in order to keep going.

I love the way our son walks behind you-hands in pockets-dressing like you, acting like you.  You are something to mimic my love.  I love the way our daughters can’t wait to see you even when you’ve only been gone an hour.  The way they prepare in front of the mirror to show you their new dress or pink bow.  The way you sit down with them and read a book each and every time they ask you to-I love that about you.  Never have I met a man who has the ability to stop everything outside of himself in order to fully focus on his children.  You are a rare gift, my love.

You sacrifice quietly yet boldly in ways that no one else but your family (and close friends) see.  The giving up of a career that could have carried you all the way to the top.  The giving up of a growing farm business in exchange for, “just enough”.  The giving up of arrogance and pride in exchange for a humbled appreciation for women, children, the hungry, and marginalized.  While very few know the day to day sacrifices that you make I do and I become a better person as I witness it.  While those around me see what I do for others may they know that it is only because of what I witness in you.  I love you more than I could ever express.  The world is a better place because of you.  May I-until we part-help make your world a better place too.

I see your worn face and you love mine the same.
May our community choose to protect us as we have chosen to love and give unto it.
My hope is that we find the courage and unity to keep on giving just as we always have. Together.

“Lovers must not, like usurers, live for themselves alone. They must finally turn from their gaze at one another back toward the community. If they had only themselves to consider, lovers would not need to marry, but they must think of others and of other things. They say their vows to the community as much as to one another, and the community gathers around them to hear and to wish them well, on their behalf and its own. It gathers around them because it understands how necessary, how joyful, and how fearful this joining is. These lovers, pledging themselves to one another “until death,” are giving themselves away, and they are joined by this as no law or contract could join them. Lovers, then, “die” into their union with one another as a soul “dies” into its union with God. And so here, at the very heart of community life, we find not something to sell as in the public market but this momentous giving. If the community cannot protect this giving, it can protect nothing…”  Wendell Berry