Sunday, June 11, 2017

What Anniversaries Feel Like: More

Happy Feast of the Trinity!

The mystery of the Trinity: God existing in 3 distinct persons - Father, Son, Holy Spirit: each a manifestation of the essential identity of God: LOVE.

The priest today stated that this feast is the only feast that would have existed had the universe never been created, if man had never sinned - this feast alone would exist. It would exist because it is a celebration of God's eminent nature - not a celebration of action (miracle done for us); it is a celebration of existence. Wow. Since it is a celebration of God's existence, it is a celebration of the love - for God IS love.

Additionally, he explained that the beginning is divine love and the destination is divine love. Along the way, we are invited to experience, to share, to continue in, to progress toward divine love. This is the essence of our human existence. To know love, to be loved, to grow love, to be love. The challenge is to love like God does: loving the mere existence of the person and recognizing that they are good. [not for what they do, how they act, how they will elevate you, or who they can become: who they are in this very moment]

As I've been reflecting on this truth, I've come to this conclusion as well: if sin never entered the world, marriage is the only sacrament that would have existed. We would not have needed the sacraments of initiation (baptism, eucharist, confirmation) or reconciliation for we would always have perfect communion with God. We would not need the priesthood because we would have had full, direct communion with Jesus. I don't think we would have needed the sacrament of healing, for death had not entered the world. But marriage would have still existed...for it was in that Genesis account (prior to the fall) that God declared it was not good that man was alone, and so, a suitable helper was created.

All the Sacraments are expressions of Divine Love, but marriage is the most easily recognized as love. Today's feast of love happens to fall on a day of particular importance in my family: my grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary.

On June 11, 1947, Joe and Ellen Kremer united their lives together in the sacrament of marriage. My grandpa passed away nearly 7 years ago. When I realized that today is 70 years, I started to cry.

Why? I asked myself. Rationally, we will say that they had a long and fulfilling marriage; 63 years together, 6 children, 13 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren - there is so much to be thankful for. Indeed there is, and believe that I am quite thankful, but this is the truth that I realized with my own wedding anniversary two weeks ago: love will always want more.

My own experience arriving to this truth (and most likely, a continual progress toward living this and knowing it more and more) came on our anniversary, and I think, as both Dan's, and God's, gift to me.

Our 6th anniversary fell on Memorial Day. I determined that I wanted to spend it with Dan, so I went to the cemetery armed with journals, books, coffee and water - and a triangle donut (one of Dan's favorites, though not filled with maple cream so he would've been disappointed). It was a beautiful sunny day, and I sat on a blanket at Dan's graveside. The day reminded me of the afternoon we spent napping in the parking lot of a Catholic church (Christ the King) in Ann Arbor in the early days of diagnosis and tests.

In reading a year of our Marriage Encounter dialogues, and cards that I had written Dan last year, there is always an element in my writing of moving forward - of reaching higher - of accomplishing the work set out for us. Dan referenced it in some of his dialogues - it's as if I was willing him to get better.

and, I was. At least, I was trying. and, he was willing me to stay grounded; to be focused in this moment; to be right here, right now. I was willing him toward healing, and he was willing me toward hope. We were the embodiment of Winston Churchill's famous saying: "Never, never, never, never give up."

I think that's why this year has been so hard. Dan was everything to me - I gave all my effort to his care, well being, life...and I would gladly do it all again - and SOONER.

and I am convinced he would say the same. In his writing, there was always an element of wanting to be more for me; of not living up to his true potential or calling - of always feeling like he was falling short of the bar.

When I read our dialogues, I came to this realization: I just didn't get it! I knew that Dan loved me. I knew that he loved me very much. But, I didn't know how much Dan loved me, and I didn't REST in that love as a fact. There are times that I do, and you can tell because I write like it. In reading Dan's words, I realized that I needed to take more opportunities to build Dan up. He needed to hear words of encouragement and affirmation from me.

Recognizing this, I took some time to talk to Dan about it - and apologize for not realizing the depth, and not affirming more often how much I respected him. The day before our anniversary, I was sharing this insight/regret with my friend Andrea, and instantly, Bruno Mars' song, "When I Was Your Man" popped into my head.

"I shoulda brought you flowers,
shoulda held your hand,
sat around and talked for hours - when I had the chance,
taken you to every party - because I remember how much you love to dance,
those are the things I shoulda done, when I was your man."


Popping into my head with a song, again. This time, to let me know that it's okay; he had regrets, too. He would go back and do things differently - better - too.

Of course.

Of course, we both wished for more. More of everything.
Of course, he wishes he had shown more romantically.
Of course - because he loved me - and when you love someone, you always want more.

When you are in love, you can simultaneously be beyond thankful for all that you have, and want more. You want the love to never stop, to never end. THIS is our example of God's love: we always want more of love! THIS is the beauty of God's infinite self, and Trinitarian unity: we will always be filled, and there will always be room for more. We will not be bored in heaven. There will always be more to explore in love: the heights, the depths, the width, the breadth of love continues on into everlasting.

Love doesn't end.
Love multiplies.
Love grows.

Love fills.

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