I saw the president’s speech before I’d read anything about Connecticut. We had just come back to the hotel to rest before dinner. I sobbed through his speech and then sobbed harder when I read the various, disparate, and sometimes inaccurate reports of the shooting. It is hard, sometimes, to love in spite of everything. To be joyful into the dark. To celebrate when there is so much suffering.

Children and their teachers dead in classrooms.

And today, I’m getting married. At a place called the Sanctuary, in Seattle. And my joy will be that much more fierce because my sorrow is so intense. We love, sometimes, into the dark. And into the light. We love cleanly, and poorly. We love because we must. We must love. The alternative is worse.

Here are my vows, brothers and sisters. Combined here with tragedy because that is what we bring to the world. Love even when you’re weary. Love. Love one another.

Mary, I think I’ve always loved you in this childlike way. You’re the lighted window — the way I know I’m nearly home. I love that you don’t remember meeting me. Like it’s this secret glimpse I got into a future I had to earn. I feel like my skills were honed so I’d be part of your family. That I play so hard because you deserve joy. And I know more words now. I don’t have to rely on metaphors with you. I used to dream of a wife, but I couldn’t be her. The foodie, the hearth, the tender, the woman who makes the house glow. The first time you made me risotto, I held the bowl like it was my fortune. Maybe I knew it was our dowry. And that I would be the other half — laughing and resilient. That I would remind you that you have a body — the most comforting place I have ever been. And that I will work all of my life to protect and nourish you. To make our family the center of all decisions, of all endeavors. I promise to love you with the best and the worst of me. In fire and drought. I promise to fail you and better my self. I promise to learn and never be finished. I promise, Mary. I promise myself. The shiny and the disastrous. I am yours. I have been yours. I will be yours. You are where I live.

2 thoughts on “Vow”

  1. “You are the lighted window.” Oh so lovely.

    And tragedy can be a blessing as much as love. I think we have to see that, too.

    I have wanted to send you something, a thing that would say how happy I am for you both. For your family. And I don’t know what that is, except my joyful congratulations. It’s a rare thing to find your home.

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