Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Words that carry us

"From this day forward."

It's a phrase from our wedding vows, words we recited to each other in a stately Atlanta sanctuary seventeen years ago.

My wife repeats that phrase when we're going through challenging times. It's part of our shorthand, a way to remind each other that, despite whatever we're facing at the moment, we commit ourselves and our futures to each other.

Those words have power for us.

Love is a funny thing. It settles on you easily and lightly, a sunbeam breaking through a gap in the clouds. It lifts your spirits to soaring heights.

Love that lasts a lifetime: now that's something more. It's a culmination of shared history and caring. It's a bold statement that, because of that history and sometimes despite it, we choose to go forward hand-in-hand... regardless of what lies ahead.

Life has been challenging this past year and a half, with health concerns on my part that have us taking regular trips to the cancer center in Seattle. We're now in the midst of a flood of chemo that will require us to be there for each of the next 42 days.

As we prepared to leave our home town for this trip, a dear friend came by our house to wish us well. She's tiny and white-haired and a generation ahead of us. She has the wisdom of someone who's been through much. And she reminded us of a line from a great old hymn:

"Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow." 

That simple phrase sums up a lot for us right now.

Words have power. Power enough, sometimes, to see us through the night, with calm hearts and eyes resting easily on the horizon of a new day.