First Comes Love

Falling in love is a private business—a mystery and a blessing, a fickle arrow that sometimes works out for the best, and sometimes leaves you crawling on all fours and trying to believe that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes it just plain breaks you, but sometimes it transforms you.

Today is Andy and my twenty-year wedding anniversary.  It is not the anniversary of falling in love, as I say, that is a private business narrated by private communiqués, arcane memories of places and shared experiences, trips and tumult and near break-ups and fears and angst-filled sleepless nights and dreamy wanderings through castles and tundras and dreams of rose petals and slow coming to trust that it is okay to trust.

While I was not dying to get married, per se (seeing it as bourgeois convention and possible hex on love), I now look back at our wedding with incredible fondness.  We were young, and broke, but we fought to keep it true to our spirit.  And in that spirit our friends made a chuppa (or wedding canopy) for us, out of many squares of silk, decorated with love and then sewn together into one cloth.

Those we loved (but of course not all, for some were already dead, and some were yet to be met, some yet to be born) gathered around us in a circle, standing in the fading dusk under a grand tree, the one Andy had grown up under, and we were married.  The rabbi spoke of tallness and shortness coming together (for Andy was always tallest in her class and me always shortest), a dear friend held a lighter in the deepening dark to light the way for the ritual’s completion—a nearly missed kiss, dual breaking wine glasses.

Through our wedding I realized that while love is private, things like weddings (and later parenting) are ways in which we join the group.  They are not the only way, but they are one way in which we join with those who have come before us and consecrate our own individual, ego-imprisoned, often pain-embodied selves to something larger.

Falling in love (especially after a very lonely childhood) and being loved back taught me the basics of how to be loved, transformed wishing into believing, but it has been parenting (and being a therapist) that has taught me truly how to love.

I was uncomfortable with the idea of a wedding where the message is, “Aren’t we special?”  But I was transformed by the love of the group and the feeling that, “Isn’t love special?  Doesn’t it encompass us all and ripple out to include every bird and beetle and chalice moon?  Doesn’t it come from the source of the river that dreams us?  Doesn’t it make sense to love that river and its source, even if we cannot understand it?”

Twenty years brings aging, changing, the melancholy of loss; but it also brings wisdom, the deepening of love and reverence for the present moment, the realization that we look with the same eyes as we have since childhood, taking in more and more, but always, in essence, who we always were.

Thus I write these words in the deepest gratitude I have known.  I am thankful for the blessing of love and I seek to share that with all who cross my path in whatever manner those threads touch and weave and pulse with spirit.

It’s been well over twenty years since I fell in love, and I’m more in love with Andy now then ever; but I’m also in love with my children, with life and the world (despite how piercing and harsh is its pain, its confusing teachings, its constant whisperings of impermanence).

There may be different kinds of love, there may be different kinds of light—but the truest love falls like light, on everything without judgment nor hesitancy, without fear or desire, like a clock that winds down selflessly to its own non-existence somehow knowing that no longer “existing” is not the same as being no longer true.

So, in the spirit of true love, I dedicate this day to my beloved, Andy, but in the service of us all and all our collective children, from the ant and the beetle (and for all we know they love us in their way) to the sun shining softly on the bark of trees.  Let’s gaze with the eyes we’ve been given, touch with the hands we inhabit, savor our portion, whatever it is, and find pleasure in it.  This, in my view, is good.

Namaste, Bruce


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17 Responses to “First Comes Love”

  1. Beth B Says:

    Andy and Bruce,

    This posting left me so happy for the both of you (Happy Anniversary! How can it be 25 years?) and it warmed me to know that I have known you and watched you through your journey together. The photos are beautiful and bring back many memories. They’re filled with joy. May your journey together continue to be as wonderful.

    Love Beth (and the Ant and the Beetle)

  2. Lindsey Says:

    Happy anniversary! Warm wishes to you both on this day. Six days ago was mine and Matt’s 10th anniversary and I look upon 20 with admiration and reverence – especially upon a love and relationship as clearly strong as yours. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  3. Beth K Says:

    Happy Anniversary, Bruce and Andy!

  4. Mark Brady Says:

    Mazel Tov!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Beautiful. Thank you Bruce for the reminders and the sharing of love. Happy anniversary.

  6. Saska Says:

    Happy Anniversary Bruce and Andy!
    This is a wonderful post Bruce, thank you for the inspiration of your love together!!

  7. Katrina Says:

    Happy 20th Wedding Anniversary Bruce and Andy! Such beautiful love you share with each other and with us all.

  8. krk Says:

    A beautiful bride, a beautiful groom, a beautiful love.
    Mazel Tov !

  9. BigLittleWolf Says:

    What a lovely piece of writing and celebration. 20 years is quite a milestone, isn’t it – not just the weathering of them, but flourishing and building something.

    “transforming wishing into believing.”

    Happy anniversary to all of you.

  10. Andy Says:

    May I just say thank you for the lovely wishes from old and new friends. And for the profound way that Bruce touches so many hearts.

  11. Kate Says:

    Happy anniversary!
    I wasn’t sure what I thought about weddings, but on the day we found ourselves under some trees, saying vows, the love and support of so many dear ones left me breathless. Thank you for reminding me of that warmth.

  12. privilegeofparenting Says:

    Thanks to everyone for such kind words and good wishes—it all further deepens our gratitude and sense of love, connection and belonging, each in our own way, with the group… our truer identity.

    Wishing Well for all who happen upon these words… and also for those who do not.

  13. TheKitchenWitch Says:

    Happy anniversary! What an auspicious day to be married! She looks beautiful, and you have a lovely family.

  14. Katrina Kenison Says:

    Happy belated anniversary! We share an anniversary week with you two — in fact, when I saw that you were writing about your anniversary, I knew I couldn’t read your post until after I’d written mine. As always, you are so eloquent and tender. Blessings to you and Andy and your boys. Here’s to twenty-plus more years for all of us!

  15. rebecca @ altared spaces Says:

    A wedding where the focus is Look at Us…to a wedding where the focus is Look at Love. Yes. This is my experience of weddings. And, with this piece, anniversaries offer a similar reflection. I’ve read so many pieces of reflected love in which the writer muses about how love changes over the years.

    Love begins as one thing, close knit and private, but it does seem to expand and encorporate a community as we grow.

    What a beautiful bride you have. Congratulations on keeping a love strong.

  16. denise Says:

    This is my first visit and I look forward to many more. Thank you for your inspiring post–and for the true and real portrayal of relationships. Ups and downs, connected with love. I loved reading this.

  17. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    With apologies for coming to this post so late, I want to add my voice to the chorus of well-wishers. Andy and Bruce, learning about your love for each other and for your boys has been a gift in my life these past few months. My wish for you is many more years of health, happiness, light, and love. May your lives be filled with the quality of blessings that your stories impart to us.

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