Monday, February 10, 2014

Reflections on a Long Parish Ministry

We were partners in a strange marriage,
An arranged marriage in which
We gave our consent to a life together
We had neither prescience or understanding of.
But, it was a marriage and because
We honor marriage,  we determined
To make the best of it.

I loved you and did not know
How to love you.
And you loved me and shared
The same ignorance.

All the things that sour a marriage were there:
Pride, fear, confusion, inflated expectations.
But the things that save a marriage were there, too:
Forgiveness, humor, respect, and satisfaction.
They worked contrary to one another in such a way
As to produce a persevering resignation and trust.

And the result was a good thing for both of us.
We brought to one another
What the other lacked.
We were bettered by the conflict,
By the discipline,
By the failures,
And by the many renewals of love.
Thus, we were made more like one another
And more like the Thing
We both supremely loved.

And in my aging days I look back.
My regrets stare back at me with hollow eyes.
But, there is no bitterness
And the pangs of longing are mixed with joy.
The regrets and pangs make me wish
That I could have been a better man, a wiser man.
And, yet, even in that longing
Is also something of love.