Sunday, September 22, 2013

The greatest of these is love.

Today is a very special day.  It's my first wedding anniversary.  I know, big deal, right?  Especially for a girl for whom it's her second marriage.  Well, it IS a big deal, and here's why.

We all think we know what love is.  We all have an idea of what marriage is supposed to be, what we want it to be and what we expect it will be.  The expectation, the reality gap seems to be greater the younger you are when you get married.  No, not for everyone, but for many.  

As I look back on our wedding day and the year that has transpired since and even look back to my first marriage, I simply smile and feel peace in my heart.  Life is playing out the way it was meant to be.  It's a journey.  I have found peace, happiness and unconditional true love.  Sappy, I know, but true. Our anniversary is not about flowers, gifts or hoopla.  It's about us and love.  Remembering the journey that brought us together and looking forward to walking whatever path life leads us on.  Together.  Pure, simple, love.
The 'first look'
Perhaps nothing explains it better than the vows we wrote for each other.  Here is a glimpse into our love:

Joe's Vows to Kim:

Kimberly, here we are.  Not a beginning and certainly not an ending.  We both went through much to get to this point.  We have loved, learned, suffered, rejoiced, laughed and cried.  We have discovered what brings us joy and grappled with our inner demons.  We have found more about our greater sense of ‘self’, so much so that we would not have been ready for each other if things hadn't gone the way they did.  We are the sum of our core plus all we have experienced.  I do realize it took a great tragedy as part of those experiences for us to finally find each other.  And never doubt, despite how much being ‘us’ means to me, that if I had the power to reach into the sky and peel back the veil of time to save Meghan, I would do it in an instant, even though it might mean we wouldn't be standing here today.

Many speak of ‘knowing’ when they've found their partner.  I had fear for years.  Fear that I would never have that ‘knowing’.  Fear of being oblivious and not acting on it even if it did happen.  Fear of not even knowing what I was seeking in a partner.  After I met you, I learned to act on love and not fear.  It was then it became so clear.  I listened to my heart, and it told me everything I needed to know.  I now know, with all the certainty I can muster, that you are my partner.  I admire your compassion, your great strength, and your capacity for love.  I love your understanding, your comforting touch and your knowing gaze.  I am humbled that you see the real me and help me bring that out into the world.  You are the other piece of my puzzle.  My companion, my confidant, my best friend, my love, the one I would give anything for and for whom I would work tirelessly to bring happiness.

As you already know, two cannot truly become one.  Instead, on this day, I will promise you that we will walk this path of life together hand in hand, bonded by love, trust, and respect.  We will walk stronger and prouder than we once were but not as strong as we both can and will be.  As we walk, when you stumble, I will catch you, just as I know with all my heart you’ll do so for me.  I promise I will comfort you during rough times, celebrate with you during good times, and bridge our differences with love, patience, and understanding.  Whatever the path of our future holds, I promise that we will face it together.  I promise I will always keep myself open and share myself with you.  In sharing, we will draw strength, for pain shared is pain halved, just as joy shared is joy doubled.

I am touched and honored that you have invited me into your family, as I know how significant a decision that is.  I promise I will do my best to raise your children as if they were my own.  I will never forget they are a part of you and I will love, guide, and nurture them to the best of my ability, even the step daughter I will never get to tuck in at night.  I look forward to watching your boys become the fine young men they are meant to be and I will swell with pride for all they accomplish.

Know that, above all, I love you.  When I ponder the many futures my life could take, none of them are without you.  Our connection, our ‘fit’, is what completes me.  As I mentioned before, this is neither a beginning or ending.  These are the next steps on our shared path forward.  We’re not ‘done’.  There will always be work to do and struggles to overcome, both individually and as a couple.  Nothing is perfect.  Times will be hard.  Always remember that I will never stop trying to make our journey better with each step as we continue on our path, hand in hand.  This, I promise.

Kim's Vows to Joe:

Six years ago, the Universe presented to us an opportunity. We almost missed it yet again, except that day, it was finally the right time.  There was this bottomless glass of wine, some bet about a kiss and a strong energetic connection to this guy on the dance floor whose first words to me were, “Do you swing?” 

couldn't figure out why I was so instantly and energetically drawn to you, until I looked into your eyes and recognized your soul. 

Over the next several months we cultivated a relationship built on open and honest conversation.  It was as if we’d known each other forever.  It was so familiar and so right.  I could feel it with every ounce of my being.  We were meant to be together.

We bring out the best in each other.  We challenge each other.  We nurture each other.  Our connection, our love, it transcends the physical, the emotional and the spiritual.  It is pure, honest, and true.  It is built upon mutual respect and trust.  It is surrounded by light and peppered with laughter.  Lots of laughter. 

Joe, you have been the greatest gift to me.   At a time when my world was nothing but gray, you were like a ray of light.  You accepted me as I was.  You held me, you laughed with me, you cried with me.  You reminded me how important it is to play.  You showed me unconditional love and respect. You brought the color back to my life.

I promise you, I will always be there for you.  In joy and in sorrow, in sunshine and in rain, but in the cold I’ll need a blankie...  I’ll be your partner for life, both on and off the dance floor.  I promise to keep your food from touching, to protect you from vegetables and to do my best not to confuse Star Wars and Star Trek. 

I will honor and cherish you and be grateful for every day we share.  I will love you joyfully, with laughter and playfulness.   I will strive to inspire you, grow with you, encourage you, empower you and support you in all that you desire.  I will love you wholly, truthfully and honesty.  I will nurture you, our relationship and our family with tenderness and care. I will love you passionately with all that I am and all that I have.  I will love you always.   With my heart, my mind, my body and my soul.
I know you will be a wonderful husband and a fantastic step-father.  You will always be my super-hero, even when you are not wearing your super hero jammies and cape.  I am forever grateful for all that you are and all that you've given me.  

I told you very early on in our relationship, I’d walk this path with you. I know not where it will take us or what terrain lies ahead, but I know it was meant to be with you and we shall always walk it together.  Heart in heart and hand in hand.  

I promise to you a lifetime of love, light, laughter and friendship.  It is an honor to take your hand in marriage and to be your wife.  I love you. 

Pixie dust, after the sand ceremony, for Meggie!  Because all you need is faith, trust and a little bit of Pixie dust!

Our wedding day was unique in many ways.  It was truly a celebration of who we are, where we've been and who we have become, together.  It was a blending of families.  A recognition of "Yes, this is where we are supposed to be, it all makes sense now."  

My hope is that every person is able to find such raw, honest, true love.  To realize relationships are work. We never stop learning, growing and changing.  The difference in marriage is that it's together.  The reading we chose was a poem called "Love", by Roy Croft.  It was read by our mutual friend, known as "Wombat".  It speaks volumes. "Love" By Roy Croft

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;

I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

Our friend "Wombat", reciting the reading we chose
Our awesome wedding party!
As we celebrate today, we shall remember our wedding day fondly. We will watch our video an flip through our photos.  We will eat our delicious anniversary cake!  I love cake!  We will be grateful for the family and friends who were able to share the day with us and  remember the love and Heavenly presence of those who were with us in spirit.  A bittersweet day this year, because at our wedding we celebrated the 86th birthday of my maternal grandmother.  She passed away this past May.  She was thrilled to be there and to get some extra attention that day, proud to see her eldest granddaughter marry on HER birth day!  

It is also the anniversary of my paternal grandmother's death. My family seems to do things on the Autumnal Equinox!  Not surprising, really, as it's a day of transition.  A day of harvest, and a time when the veil is lifted.  We really did dance with the angels.  We always will.  

If you'd like a 3 minute peek into our day, you can view our wedding trailer here. 

You may kiss your WIFE!
Peek a Meggie on my bouquet

Our family

Happy Anniversary my love.  The first of many.  A day for us, really like any other, except we will be more mindful of why we chose to marry and declare to the world our bond of love and friendship.  Oh, and we get cake!  ;-)
Together, hand in hand, we shall walk.

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