May and June are filled with activities where families seem to be woven and re-woven together: graduations, weddings, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, end-of-the-year recitals, and in our family we celebrate five birthdays and three wedding anniversaries. But we know that families are also fragile and everything does not always fall into place picture-perfect. And so we pay attention to the joy and the challenge of remaking the world by attending to our own families.

On June 1 my parents will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. That seems like an eternity to me. And I am incredibly grateful for all that their shared love has taught me about what the best of love looks like. They taught me that you can bicker and fiercely defend your own opinion and then turn right around and go dancing and share hearty laughter and gentle romance. When I was a little girl, my parents always went on dates. Even when money was tight they got babysitters and savored nights out with friends and went on trips without the kids. And I learned that their love was solid and strong and beautiful and I was safe. They worked harder than I thought was humanly possible, both at their jobs and with household chores and as volunteers in the community and they always made time to do things to show love to each other. Dad filled Mom’s car with gas and Mom packed Dad’s lunch for the office. Sacrifice was never as a martyr but always in service of a deep love and affection, a thread in the fabric of vibrant love. They parented as a team and my sister and I had no fleeting doubt that we were loved. And they practiced their faith together, sitting together every Sunday in church. Religion was not something you talked about, but something you lived. And so in honor of my parents’ love, I offer this poem from Wendell Berry.

Loving you has taught me the infinite

longing of the self to be given away
and the great difficulty of that entire
giving, for in love to give is to receive
and then there is yet more to give;
and others have been born of our giving
to whom the self, greatened by gifts,
must be given, and by that giving
be increased, until, self-burden,
the self, staggering upward in years,
in fear, hope, love and sorrow,
imagines, rising like a moon,
a pale moon risen in daylight
over the dark woods, the Self,
whose giver we and all others are,
the self that is by definition given.

Grace and Peace,