It has been a great pleasure for our family to get to know Russ and Gina Garcia in the last years. I wrote of them in a previous blog. This amazing couple have been married for 56 years. Out of respect for the love they have shared and obviously continue to share for each other, I decided to read out a poem at the end of the Voices from the North interview I did with them in 2007. The poem was the famous one of Khalil Gibran’s, On Marriage, from The Prophet.

 

Afterwards, Gina and Russ told me of how they had read two poems out loud at their wedding all those years before. The two poems were both from The Prophet, On Marriage and On Love. I was more than somewhat taken aback because those were the very two poems read out loud during the simple wedding ceremony Lucia and I had at our home in the hinterlands of New Mexico in 1990. (Can you hear the theme song from Close Encounters of the Third Kind?)

 

The Garcias went on to explain that they remarry each year by renewing their wedding vows with each other.

 

Today, February 25, 2009 is a new moon and it is Lucia’s and my 19th anniversary. For the second straight year we have honoured each other and our relationship by reading out loud just a few words from our wedding and the two poems from The Prophet that featured so prominently at our simple winter new moon wedding ceremony in New Mexico 19 years before.  The words are:

 

Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment, as well as a moral and physical union between two human beings. It involves the construction of the love and trust of those two individuals into a single growing energy of spiritual life. Marriage should be a life-long consecration to the ideal of loving kindness, backed with the will to make it last.

 

We read in The Prophet:

 

True love gives nothing but of itself

And takes nothing but from itself.

Love does not possess, nor would it be possessed

For love is sufficient unto love.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself,

To awake at dawn with a winged heart and

Give thanks for another day of loving.

To rest at noon and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude,

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart

And a song of praise upon your lips.

 

I’ve just checked and I can see that the friend who put the words of our ceremony together and who legally presided over the wedding had taken the liberty of altering Gibran’s original words to suit the occasion. I trust that you receive succour from their beauty nonetheless. I can honestly say that these words are more meaningful to Lucia and me with each turning of this beautiful planet around the sun.

 

Marriage remains a sacred commitment to us. For a previous blog I wrote on marriage which contains Gibran’s words on the same subject click here.

 

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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.

Love,

John

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:

http://www.insearchofsimplicity.com