If I was waiting for an appropriate day to blog again – which I wasn’t really, but sometimes the date does make me carve out the time to write – today is probably as close as I’m going to get: 18th September is our wedding anniversary and this year marks exactly 30 years since Martin and I said ‘I will’, exchanged rings and joined our lives together until death.
12 moves and 2 kids later, through all the ups and downs of parenthood – childhood, adolescence, letting go and a few others we invented ourselves – by way of his demanding career path from medical student to Professor, in which I have always played the supporting role, we have lived all the seasons of the soul to the full as the decades turned from hopeful 30’s into solid 40’s and fatter 50’s, while gathering more wonderful memories than we can remember, more favourite places than anyone has a right to and more family jokes and quotes than we can trace back to their origins… And here we are, still very much in love and both more than happy to be together. It’s amazing really, and it’s not that we haven’t had our tough times, misunderstandings, jealousies and struggles… but these days I’m not sure it would be possible to find the join in order to separate us: he starts a sentence and I finish it, we have the same unspoken thoughts and, most importantly, he knows how to make a perfect cup of morning tea: that’s marriage for you.
On Saturday we went to a wedding reminiscent of our own – but only in so far as it was a similarly beautiful, sunny September day, cloudless and blue, hot as summer. Lucy and Andrew got married under a canopy in a field and had their picnic reception in a tent 🙂 30 years ago we made our vows in the old church of St Edmund King and Martyr next to Cambridge market and walking across King’s Parade avoiding tourists, entered King’s college dining hall for our wedding buffet! Doubtless both occasions were typical of the participants’ characters, histories and lifestyle, both tailor-made and perfect days to cherish through the years.
I was especially delighted to be in that field with Lucy 30 years on to see her dreams coming true and her own life entering this new dimension, because she’s been like a spiritual daughter to me since we moved to Loughborough and a forerunner of all the ‘sons and daughters’ we have sought to love and encourage here in Open Heaven church and beyond. 30 years denotes a generation, 30 years to reach maturity in your own right and stand strong in adulthood – like Jesus leaving the carpenter’s shop and family in Nazareth to commence His ministry. I do remember being 30, so glad to leave the tumultuous 20’s behind, more sure of who I was – but I’d just had my second child, established as a wife and mother, little realising it was only the beginning of adventures…
Lucy, like our own Rebecca is turning 28 this week – in fact Becca’s birthday was yesterday: she was the best 2nd wedding anniversary present in the world! So this has always been a significant family week for us, in mid-September – a time to celebrate. It therefore seems appropriate that this week I have several opportunities to teach and mentor younger generation friends in various church settings and pass on some of the life lessons I have picked up over the years: it’s funny that they have all come at once, because I have been looking for the chance to give away this store of knowledge for some time: like buses perhaps they all come along at the same time!
More likely that it’s something I can pay attention to – a sign of the way I am heading in this next season – especially because I just found out today that these 2 days of 17th and 18th are Jewish New Year. I’m clearly not as on the ball about these things as I was last year when I picked up on it myself – and it tied into our family story then in just the same way (see Pay Day)! But thank you Helen for reminding me and sending the link to a blog called Velveteen Rabbi and a post written yesterday: it is indeed Rosh Hashanah once again. The female American rabbi’s whole piece is well worth reading, but here’s the introduction:
“Think of Rosh Hashanah as the stem cells of the year.” So says my teacher Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, known to his friends and students as Reb Zalman. Stem cells can become anything as they mature and grow; they contain infinite potential. This day on the Jewish calendar is the same way.
The old year has become fixed in time. We know what happened; our memories, both bitter and sweet, are already formed. But we don’t know what the new year will contain. The shape of 5773 depends on what we decide to grow out of the stem cells of this day.
The Jewish mystics we know as kabbalists teach that (on the first day) the door of wisdom and insight opens for us. (On the second day) of this holiday, the door of discernment and understanding swings open, too. These are the origin points of our year, our springboard into whatever’s coming next.
She goes on to say that we can choose to employ certain behaviour to make the year what we want it to be – it’s the law of sowing and reaping, of course. But if there is a new direction being set and new energy available this is a good time to make some choices. For me the signs are pointing to the sons and daughters, a new generation, investment and legacy (now there’s a buzz word!) and all this week I can take the opportunities to work that out – jump on these ‘buses’ and make the most of where I now find myself as a mother of grown-up/adopted/spiritual children who are asking my advice and wanting my wisdom.
Here at our 30 year mark I find the door swings open to a whole new year and season of fulfilment – a privilege and legacy indeed!