We attended an intimate celebration of fifty years of marriage for two dear friends in December. They had chosen to redo their vows, have each participant take turns reading out various touching words related to marriage and play a few appropriate songs for the occasion. My little contribution was to read out Kahlil Gibran’s words on Marriage from The Prophet. Lucia and I had used these words as part of our marriage ceremony close to 19 years ago. Near the end of our circle of sharing another dear friend sprang up from his chair, approached his partner seated nearby, got down on one knee and proposed to her. Nearly speechless in shock, his partner nodded her consent. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. I’m happy I always carry a handkerchief!
He and his lovely partner have been together for years and have two wonderful young boys. This is not this friend’s first long term relationship and he admitted to us all that he had never been married and half jokingly thought he would like to before he turned 60 next year. All of us were touched by the richness of this simple ceremony and the consequences it had for two (four including the boys) of us. The spontaneous proposition in no way detracted from the spirit of the occasion and only temporarily removed the focus from the people whose landmark anniversary was being honoured.
I believe the institution of marriage has tremendous value. It is a commitment to go through the fires of life together, through the ups and downs of finances, health, and relationship challenges and to come out the other side stronger and providing a valuable model for the couples that follow. Two of the pieces of music that were played were Amanda McBroom’s The Rose and John Denver with Placido Domingo singing Perhaps Love together.
The Prophet on Marriage
by Kahlil Gibran
Then Almitra spoke again and said…
“And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:
You were born together,
and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings
of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the
silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress
grow not in each other’s shadow.
In Search of Simplicity is a startlingly poignant real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life. John Haines hosts a popular weekly interview program, Voices from the North, from his place in paradise in New Zealand’s subtropical far north, and leads what he calls ‘playshops’ in voice, sound and communication. Visit his website at: