“Recuerdo” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn
We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.
We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, ‘Good morrow, mother!’ to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, ‘God bless you!’ for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.”
Somewhere between “very tired” and “subway fares” I slipped images of Travis and I in this poem. We would mold in hardships together, celebrate, and give our lives away willingly. We would trudge through the city and keep eyes peeled for the needy mother who can bless us with her presence and a forgetting of ourselves. We would push through the fatigue Millay so gently conveys above and fight to find our happiness. For those who truly know Travis and his strengths, he carries compassion off with a heroic enthusiasm that is never perfect but always well-intentioned and sincere. The long, frustrating road to being found by him serves as a transition to the first aspect of love the apostle Paul mentioned in 1. Corinthians 13: patience.
Many of my friends (and some unfortunate first dates) either actively or passively knew about my chaotic spinning to be a wife. There were many tears, lonely evenings wondering if I needed a counselor, envious stares at the newly-engaged couples, and angry under-breath mutterings about the sixteenth person to explain “It will happen when you least expect it to.” These emotions were negative, but still a part of the growth I needed to move on. I took all of these things and with God’s help, traded in the mentality that I needed to be a wife to be valued for the knowledge that my heart, mind, body, and soul were already beautiful to him and the people in my life. Cue the smart, funny, loving, chivalrous hunk I now call husband and partner. This romantic patience was plagued with thorny impatience, but it still bred a calm and grand walk away from fear to settle and meet love.
Patience these days in marriage means mostly getting around independent, prideful Nina and living at peace with independent, prideful Travis. Patience everywhere else is slowing down in traffic to appreciate the created rules of safety, realizing that not everyone at church is going to live like I think they should, taking a deep breath and smiling at the freshman who is ballistic about not getting into algebra, slowing my mind down from glorifying the future, and forgiving myself and definitely for not being perfect. When Paul says to his readers, “Love is patient,” en français, “L’amour est patient,” he is saying ignore the instant gratification of puppy-dog love and concentrate fully on lasting love. See the God-given worth, grace, and justice in this stranger even though he fails to understand and slams your life choices right now. Plant the seeds of redemption, Les-Mis-style, by sacrificing largely and fearlessly. This is a foundation of love, the commanding, bone-crushing, heart-melting mystery offered to all of us. Black History Month reminds us all of the small, harmonious stories that formed a giant wellspring of freedom and celebration to bring people of all races together. February is the month for standing together.
I would like to leave with some links of people who are incredible examples of patience, and some others who make it fun to peruse the internet.
The Greensboro Four. A wonderful, enriching story involving peace and politics:
French native missionaries Jean-Baptiste and Emilie Margaillan, along with their Kewpie-cute daughter Lina. If you research and find their work in France intriguing, prayerfully consider sending a financial gift or buying artwork from Jean-Baptiste. I loved the postcards with painted birds and sent a few as Christmas gifts last year:
Sometimes patience requires a bit of craftiness. This chick has a well-designed blog, and updates her posts regularly:
As a poet, these websites make me feel good about continuing in my craft, and help me realize that if my poem is for no one other than myself or a stuffed dog it is a blessing:
Happy 1st week of Love Month!