Yesterday afternoon, Margaret and I sang the hymn“Come, Labor On,” one of those resonant theological classics of sacred music. The fourth verse includes the admonition, “Redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly. The night draws nigh.”

Twenty-four years ago today, we sang “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” and “Come Down, O Love Divine,” two more of those classics; we stood up in front of Margaret’s home parish, of family and friends, standing among saints and angels. We offered to one another and to God and church our willingness to bind our lives together; we promised to stick together through thick and thin, as a testimony to love’s power to harmonize and unite different characters, a tentative witness to God’s love’s ultimate reconciliation of the differences by which this mortal world has been constituted — when earthly passions turn to dust and ashes in the heat of God’s love consuming.

As we begin a twenty-fifth year of life together, we can’t afford to take for granted even a minute of the time we share. We’ve somehow put together two dozen years of affection, care-giving, parenting, support, growth, endurance, surprises, patience, and in all things, praise of God. Who could ask more? Yet we promise one another, our beloved family, our dear friends, and all with whom our lives have become intertwined, to rejoice in each new day, to acknowledge the tremendous gifts we’ve received (and, at our best, shared).

And to Margaret, my love: All this that you have given me far exceeds anything I could ever ask. Thank you, my dearest, for loving me, knowing me, and keeping close very moment — I’m with you, all along, always, all ways.

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