This past week we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. There was not much fanfare involved, a simple card, dessert, and out to supper at our favorite local restaurant. For whatever reason our big celebration was the trip 5 years ago to Ireland, for our 20th. The experiences over these many years have taken down many paths, through many communities, and easily the most dramatic step, the adoption of our daughter. And through it all the constants have been a shared sense of purpose, sense of humour and a deep need to share our impressions, joys and concerns with one another.
I’ve also thought about the friendships that have come and gone and the ones that have remained. I don’t regret any of them but some spoke to a certain time in my life and later either I changed or the friend changed and the chemistry no longer remained. In some cases the distance got in the way of developing a deeper friendship. The purpose in all these relationships was never a place or a task or even a goal, it was a sense of becoming, or evolving into a reason for being that spoke to something deep in my soul.
When pressed to define my spirituality I often come to the word existentialist. For me spirituality is creating in my soul a purpose for life and then harnessing all of my gifts, personality, material possessions, relationships, everything, to be that person. When I first heard General Romeo Dallaire speak I knew I was listening to a kindred spirit. Dallaire has seen and heard things I can never imagine. But the process of becoming has a familiar ring to it, the sense that values you’ve been taught that lay deep within are animated by struggle and crisis and flower into who you become. For Dallaire it all took shape in his famous question, “are all humans human or are some more human than others?” For me it was the words my mother would share with me before entering a crowded room, “always look for the person who is alone and make them welcome first.” I have found that statement resonate in and through me as I have journeyed to many places and many people.
And when I go to that person who is alone and listen and speak what comes out of that experience is spiritual and meaningful. And integrating that into my life becomes the next step and no one helps me do this more effectively than my partner. Kim knows me, challenges me, affirms me, and walks beside me as I make sense of these experiences and become the person I am today.
Today I will preside at a small intimate wedding for a couple, a young man I Confirmed in the church years ago and the other a woman who has traveled a great distance from a foreign land. The vows were crafted with the dialogue of Naomi and Ruth in mind, “where ever you go I will go…” My prayer for them as a married couple is they find each other to be the essential partner on this journey to become who they are. I have learned that having persons in our life to help us get to the place of meaning is essential for true happiness. I want these two persons to discover that gift in each other.
I heard on the radio the other day that singer Joel Plaskett’s wife asked Joel where we was headed on sunny mid afternoon. Joel responded he was going “nowhere” in particular. Plaskett’s partner responded, “then can I go nowhere with you.” Joel Plaskett wrote a song based on that dialogue. I’d like to think we all desire to “go nowhere with you” with those special persons in our lives who help us become our true selves.