The other morning on the way into town I realized I’d forgotten to bring with me an overdue library book, so I dashed back home to retrieve it.  When I approached the front door, I noticed something different about the cherry blossom-branch wreath that I’d recently hung on it to celebrate spring:  there were two gray mourning doves nestled together cozily in the bottom curve of the wreath itself.  They looked so natural there, like the sort of decoration one might add to a wreath to make it homier.  I hated to disturb them by coming any closer but they’d already seen me and both fluttered away instantly.  But it was one of the most magical things I’d seen in a long time, like some sort of benevolent sign.  I mean, I hadn’t been gone that long, I’d just come through that door, probably in a flurry of bags and toddler and dog and lunchboxes and loveys.  And I’d been, as is my wont, obsessively worrying about what this summer and fall will bring, as my doctoral funding comes to an end and we add another member to our family– how was I to make enough money to pay our bills (and my student loans) for the next year?  how will my marriage bear up under the strain of even tighter finances, another baby,  less time for romance and rest?  But those two doves, snuggled together in my wreath, seemed like the mark of God’s presence, a subtle blessing of hearth and home. 

I was reminded somehow of one my favorite “love” poems, one I read as a toast to my sister and her husband-to-be at their wedding rehearsal dinner.  I was reminded in particular of the lines:  “whatsoever love elects to bless/ Brims to a sweet excess/That can without depletion overflow”– I felt like those little birds were the outward and visible sign of the unending abundance I enjoy, a sweet reminder that love does indeed conquer all, that we not only have enough,  we have “sweet excess” both in our marriage and in our day-to-day lives, that God not only will provide, but will bless.  I wish you, as I wished Les and Beas at their marriage, the same plenty of love and sweetness in your life.

WEDDING TOAST

St. John tells how, at Cana’s wedding feast,
The water-pots poured wine in such amount
That by his sober count
There were a hundred gallons at the least.

It made no earthly sense, unless to show
How whatsoever love elects to bless
Brims to a sweet excess
That can without depletion overflow.

Which is to say that what love sees is true;
That this world’s fullness is not made but found.
Life hungers to abound
And pour its plenty out for such as you.

Now, if your loves will lend an ear to mine,
I toast you both, good son and dear new daughter.
May you not lack for water,
And may that water smack of Cana’s wine.

~Richard Wilbur

(I’m also reminded, just now, of the words of a former Archbishop of Canterbury that Beas told me about; this man was asked, in seminary, to discuss the miracle at Cana, and while his classmates scribbled away for an hour, he said only this– if I am remembering Beas’s account correctly– “The water recognized its Creator, and blushed.” 

Very cool.  Thanks, Beas, for blessing MY life so much already.)

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