Being born into this world is a mystery. There is no way for us to take credit for even one of the infinite number of steps that lead to the initial spark of our lives. Our lives are our gifts to us and I want to be wide awake for mine. I want to live it fully and honestly.
I did not go searching for you. You were a complete surprise. If I had known that such a phenomenon as Matt White existed, I would have set out to find you. You were like a pond hidden in the mountains of New Mexico that I accidentally happened upon — your surface completely still, your water crystal clear, the sun shining in the clear blue sky above you. Breathtaking. I continue to be amazed by the endless discoveries I've made in you.
How lucky are those who have been given a glimpse of the brightly colored fish living inside you. But I am the luckiest of all, having learned that contained in your depths is a treasure chest overflowing with riches and magic beyond my wildest dreams. I will never tire of swimming in you as long as I live.
Considering what stood between where we were when we first met in February 1993 and where we are these ten years later, I am profoundly humbled by the impossibility of our union which I know is sacred and which is now being recognized as civil.
It is in awe of these miracles of life and love which are so easily taken for granted, that I enter into this vow of commitment to you by the choices I make every day. By practicing paying attention to the holiness hidden in each moment — in private and in public, in pleasure and suffering, alone and together — may our love continue its slow, unrepeatable blooming.
I join you as my partner for life.
I vow to love you, honor you, respect you, and cherish our union.
I seek to live each day with you in search of wisdom, truth, compassion, and peace.
I promise to love you, comfort you, and encourage you through all of life's joys and sorrows.
Our union is made in love and will sustain us in our lives together.
May we be free from internal and external harm.
May we have calm, clear minds.
May we be physically healthy, strong, and vital.
May we share our experiences of love, joy, wonder, peace, and wisdom, in this life together, just as it is.
And may the love we have for each other quietly ripple out of our home and into the world.
For What Binds Us
by Jane Hirshfield
There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down—
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.
And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,
as all flesh,
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest—
And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.