There was a fish pond in front of the Episcopalian Church down on the beach where we were to be married. We were headed there, under a bright September sun, for pre-marital counseling. Being a few minutes early, we stopped to look at the beautiful fish. It was a very bright day, the white sands reflecting the sun from every direction.
Father Ed’s study looked out on the water; he greeted us and motioned us to chairs. I’d always liked Father Ed. He was very direct. He impressed upon us the long-term nature of marriage. He asked a lot of questions; and since both of us liked to talk, he got answers.
At one point, I stood up and walked over to his window. There were a few palm trees and some white rocks.
The day is white and indigo
The years are long and can’t be known;
For all we have’s the pond we swim
As distant (maybe) sails are somewhere blown
It was September, again, six years later, and raining hard. I sat out on the carport, watching the water deluge down the driveway and into the street. I saw her car round the corner on to the street and pull into the empty space in the two car carport. I walked around to get our three year old son out of the safety seat in the back of the car. She didn’t get out of the car, or roll down her window, she just spoke to me without turning her head:
I’ll be in Europe for three weeks. I’ll try to call at night when I can. I left a number at the office I can be reached at if there’s an emergency.
He was asleep in my arms. I closed the car door, and she pulled back out into the rain.
The world is dark and indigo
But for you than me;
I hold you sleeping in my arms
And wish that I could spare you from
A pain you never caused
It was a Saturday afternoon in April of this year that my now-wife told me a young couple was coming over for premarital counseling. I was spending the day writing, so I told her I would be in the back room. It was a bright beautiful day, and it reminded me of the day I had gotten premarital counseling before my first marriage, all those years ago.
The young couple came: they were both nervous and excited. I slipped back to finish my writing, hearing them leave several hours later. After that, my wife left to go to see her mother, and I, having noticed that bright colors had appeared out in the yard, walked out back to take in the view.
I stand there, realizing: for someone like me, if I could not actually see colors like these, I could not possibly imagine them. Even for those of us who cultivate our imaginations (and many of you do so to a far greater degree than I do) life is largely a series of unimaginable happenings, things far beyond the little ponds we think we’re trapped in. I never could have imagined getting married, or having a child, or getting divorced, or getting remarried, or the life I live now.
I hope I’ve learned some humility through all of this: for what I thought I knew, I didn’t, and what I thought was important, largely wasn’t. So the same might be true now. I can only do the best I can to add whatever colors I am here to add.