Exactly one year ago, almost to the minute as I write this, Ana and I were being married. Yes, today is our first wedding anniversary — and as fate would have it, we are on opposite sides of the globe!
It couldn’t be helped: Ana’s in Singapore speaking at an international conference on network marketing, and I’m in Massachusetts scribbling away on a new book on leadership due at the publisher’s Sept 1.
Happily, Skype makes full-screen, real-time audiovisual visitation possible.
We had all sorts of plans for renewing our vows — Hawaii? La Jolla? the Caribbean? Kazakhstan? (just kidding on that last one) — but as it turns out, we are renewing our vows in none of those exotic places. Instead, we are renewing them in an even more exotic place:
Right here. Right now.
At the center of our wedding ceremony, at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield, Massachusetts on August 8, 2008, Ana and I spoke vows to each other that we had each composed just a few days earlier. Here they are, as we say them all over again:
John to Ana
This week we discovered that a beautiful little cardinal had died at the edge of our yard, and you were grief-stricken. Scripture claims that when any event befalls even the smallest sparrow, God knows it, and while we mortals may not know it, I believe that you feel it. You are the most tender-hearted person I have ever known, and I love you for this more than numbers can calculate or sentences parse.
You are brilliant; you are gorgeous; you are multitalented; you are hilarious; you are a person of deep thought and even deeper thoughtfulness. You are a passionate gardener and delicious writer, an artist in more domains than I can count. I love to cook with you, to shop with you, to walk with you, to talk with you, to laugh with you and — especially — to make you laugh, yes, even when they are laughs of sympathy for my lamest attempts at genuine comic brilliance. I love you for all these things and a myriad more — but more than any of these, I love you for your heart, for the way you feel the world and everyone in it.
And the truly amazing thing in all this, is that you evidently love me.
All my life, I have felt like a radar putting out a beacon signal into the night sky, not knowing whether or not it would ever be returned, or even received. When I met you, to my absolute amazement, I found this beacon signal received and returned. You are the answer to a question I have lived since I was born but never knew how to put into words.
The world is sometimes a large and daunting place, at turns lonely and intimidating, brutal and perplexing, and it is all too easy for us frail humans to feel lost and windblown. But when I look into your face, and you into mine, I am home, I am safe, I am found.
I will forever be grateful to the month of August: it was in August that I met you, and in August that we stand here now and declare the truth of us in the eyes of God and our dearest friends.
Here is my vow:
I want to be your friend, confidante, lover and companion.
I want to grow old with you, holding your hand and feeling your hand holding mine.
I want you to be my wife.
And I promise to love, honor and cherish you all my days.
Ana to John
My dearest sweetheart John,
I love you so dearly. You are the most loving person I’ve ever known. You are kind in ways that surprise me every day. And you are considerate in all things. You have an amazing wit and humor. You are a brilliant artist and writer, and I am in awe of your creativity. You are my best friend, my companion, my love, and the person to whom I truly can let my heart speak. You are the most authentic person I know, and I love that about you. You tell me your truth, you share your inner thoughts, you ask for my advice, and I can always seek your counsel and know that you will hold my deepest fears and most vulnerable feelings.
I love you. I will always love you. I want to be your best friend, your deepest love, the person that you always turn to. I want to cook for you, listen to you, encourage you to realize your dreams, take care of you, love you and cherish you.
I have waited my whole life for you. I thank God for bringing you to me.
Thank you for loving me. You are my greatest treasure.
I vow to be your friend, your confidante, lover and companion.
I want you to be my husband.
And I promise to love, honor and cherish you all my days.
Thanks for joining us in our online renewal of our vows! (Next year, we’ll do it in person!)
Happy Anniversary to you both. I was honored to be a guest at the wedding and it was a wonderful occasion indeed. Two awesome souls joined together, witnessed by a group of friends and family who love them.
Oh my goodness…I can hardly see as I type this.
What a world it would be if all of the unions that joined as one would believe, feel and know this to be true for them, as well.
I am more than honored to be your friend, John, and Ana’s, one day. I pray God’s continued blessing on you and your family.
Much love and appreciation~
Welcome to the second year John, Ana,
It gets even better…
Everything works…when “we do.”
Here’s some words of wisdom from a few great minds:
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half-shut afterward. -Benjamin Franklin
By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. – Socrates
A man’s wife has more power over him than the state has. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
My wife and I have the secret to making a marriage last. Two times a week, we go to a nice restaurant, a little wine, good food… She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays. -Henny Youngman
Basically my wife is immature. I’ll be at home in the bath and she’ll come in and sink all my little boats. -Woody Allen
Remember the awesome power of laughter!
Know that you are blessed, loved, and really liked!
Thanks, all. Scott, love the advice, to which I would add this, from Michael J. Fox’s recent book, Always Looking Up:
“The secret to a long and happy marriage: keep the fights clean and the sex dirty.”
There is a whole slew of additional comments on this post over on Facebook, where all my blog posts show up as well:
Dear John and Ana,
You are the two of the very few people I know on this vast planet who I feel can be entrusted with such a precious gift as the one of ‘love’ – genuine Love for one another – and your sharing it is a glorious feeling!
Thank you for the fire, the cool, the radiance, the glowing pics, the sense of eternity in this dream come true that you two embody.
I love yous,
BTW, Michael J. Fox had equally succinct (and equally wise) advice about child-rearing: “Love em, feed em, and keep em out of traffic.”
It amazes me you chose to share your vows with us on your ann. It shows just how special you both are and your vows prove it..
Hi, John, First time I’ve seen a photo of your beloved Ana.
This is very touching and inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing with us! Blessings! xoxo
Dear John and Ana,
The marvel of love when so real and true is that such beautiful words, though finely spoken, still pale by comparison to the way you both glow when in one another’s company 🙂 May God continue to shine His blessings on each of you, and on your union, that the light you bring to a world too often in shadow will be an inspiration to not give up hope for those still putting out their beacon in search of such great love.
If more people who said I do actually did, then perhaps more would be as happy as you and Ana are. How amazing it was to catch this glimpse of your wonderful happiness. May you both have many more years of true promise, passion, and commitment.
Blessings to you both
Two beacons of light become one brighter beacon of light! Y’all are beautiful and your pure hearts shine.
I love y’all, Amy