Saturday, June 10, 2006

June 8, 2006 - Anniversary Dinner


Today is our 26th wedding anniversary, so Claire and I go out to dinner at a local seafood restaurant. It’s been hard for me to free up this evening, because my calendar’s suddenly gotten rather full – but of course I manage to do it. June is always that way: surprisingly busy. Church programs are winding down for the summer, but there’s still a lot to fit in before the summer lull is upon us. This year, there’s the added factor of a lot of additional work that’s been postponed during my chemotherapy treatments. I’m having to watch myself, to be sure I don’t take on too much.

We sit across the restaurant table from each other, and take stock of where we’ve been. It’s been a wild ride, the past few months – and the next few months are shaping up to be crazy in a different way, as Claire’s sister Eva and her 13-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, will soon move in with us for the summer (they’ve been living in a “winter rental” near the beachfront amusements, and their lease will be up in a week or so, allowing their landlord to kick them out and rent the place for big-bucks weekly rates). Eva’s 19-year-old son, Cory, is already living with us. Our niece, Elizabeth, must have brain surgery in late June, to remove an arachnoid cyst that’s been putting pressure on her brain, causing her severe headaches and balance problems. It’s not an especially difficult operation, as brain surgery goes – but it is brain surgery, all the same, and there will be lots of concern for Elizabeth as she goes into the operating room and recovers afterwards.

Who would have thought that, as a family, we’d be facing so many medical challenges in such a short space of time? Yet that’s the way life is, sometimes. We take it as it comes.

I can see, glinting on Claire’s wrist, a watch I’ve just given her, as an anniversary gift. It’s as much of a bracelet as it is a watch – a jewelry item, a bit of a splurge. We don’t usually do much for each other by way of gifts at our anniversary, but I felt I needed to do something this year to say “thank you” for all the ways she’s been there for me throughout this ordeal.

Claire’s been a rock through it all. I don’t know how I could have done it without her. The watch is just a token, a reminder – for me as much as for her.

“For better for worse... in sickness and in health.”
That’s marriage – and thank God for it!

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

3 comments:

Julie Orvis Marcinkiewicz said...

Happy Anniversary to you two! This years has been a testiment to the strength of your marriage.

Anonymous said...

Carlos,

Congratulations and I'm so proud of you! In no way do I want to create any agitation but I found your feelings the perfect example as to why the debate on recognizing gay “partnership” is important. (I hate to raise the issue but given the recent attacks by the president, constitutional debate and Pope, I just can’t sit silent…)
You’ve put in such wonderful words what all this gay crap is about…
Your eloquence about Claire (love her!) and your marriage (love it!) is heartwarming.
Your end quotes are equally heartbreaking:
“For better for worse... in sickness and in health.” That’s marriage – and thank God for it!"
“Two are better than one…for if they fail, one will lift up the other." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

The fact that cousins Donald and Van have been together for 48 years and might not be allowed family hospital visitation or spiritual support is disheartening.
I can’t imagine that is God’s will.

Here’s to your continued wonderful health!
Love & God Bless!
Andy

Carlos ("Carl") said...

I can see how society's slow acceptance of committed gay couples would make you angry, Andy. It makes me angry, too.

It makes me angry to watch how, as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is gearing up for yet another divisive debate on this issue (at our General Assembly that begins in a few days), the pastors of some large, conservative churches are making veiled and not-so-veiled threats to pull out of the denmomination if there's any change with respect to the ordination of gays and lesbians. It's like a kid on the schoolyard threatening, "I'll take my bat and go home."

Sometimes I wonder how these people's grandchildren will view them. They may imagine themselves, today, as the heroic defenders of Christian virtue, but in fact future generations will see them in much the same way as we see the nineteenth-century theologians who vigorously defended slavery on biblical grounds, and the early twentieth-century theologians who spoke of interracial marriage as an offense to God.

The biblical arguments are complex, and don't lend themselves to sound bites on the evening news (like Jerry Falwell's "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" - what idiocy!). Yet, the overall biblical witness - the big-picture view, not the jot-and-tittle minutiae - moves the church in the direction of justice and compassion. More and more people of faith and conscience are beginning to see that. Take heart, change is coming.

Carl