Monday, October 15, 2007
I finished reading Madeleine L'Engle's "Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage" today. It is a beautiful book; a lovely chronicle of a well-lived marriage. It draws you into their story and at the same time makes you want to live your own story to the fullest. I want to be able to look back, at the end of my marriage, and say with Madeleine that "I wouldn't have missed a minute of it, not any of it."
Reading this now was a challenge, and made me cry more than once. Much of the story takes place woven through their experience in the hospital as Hugh is being treated for, and eventually dying of, cancer. Reading it brought me back to the hospital with Mom, being afraid, not knowing what to expect or how to pray. And it made me confront the fact that some day I may face a hospitalization with my husband. Someday I may have to say good bye. Someday it may be me saying that "it is hard to let go beloved flesh".
I earnestly ask God to give Gabe and I a long, full life together. But I know that no matter how long that life is, at some point one of us will go to heaven first. My marriage vows are "until we are parted by death" and the very vow reminds me that this will, indeed, happen.
I don't want it to happen.
When it does, I hope that we can walk that road with the kind of dignity and faith and love that is evident in Madeleine and Hugh's story. I want to spend my life, my marriage, becoming the sort of faithful, faith-filled partners who can say good bye with sorrow and yet let go gently. I want to live each day, each year that I am given with Gabe, with gratitude, mindful of the gift that is it.