Candles Lit

I haven’t talked much about my protracted time without Margaret. I don’t want to seem to be holding a pity party, or to suggest that while Pakistan faces devastating floods, Haiti is still struggling with the aftereffects of the earthquake, the Gulf Coast is trying to figure out how much of the truth they’re being told about the oil-and-dispersant toxictail their fishing and recreation grounds have turned into, my having to spend another year apart from my wife should be a subject for general concern. The problems of two little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world; I’ve known that all along.
 
Today, though, Margaret got all the right materials together and sent them to her visa agency to arrange for her safe transit to Scotland. We’re not taking anything for granted. Experience reminds us that something can always go wrong. But so far as we can tell, this is the last step before it’ll be possible for us to live together again as we have always wanted to, as we have always tried to, as we committed ourselves to twenty-eight years ago as a sign of the mystery of the union between Christ and his church, as a witness to something joyous and imperishable over against the bitter sneer of misery and mortality.
 
“It is not good for ha-Adam to be alone,” God said, and well-named I am; although I am temperamentally introverted, I don’t like being isolated. I don’t like having spent five of the last six years away from Margaret more than with her. I am more thankful than I can say that Pippa and Si kept me company back in Evanston, and Pippa by herself during our year in Durham, and Margaret and I have been together on and off during her years of study and work on her own. But it is not good — and that is why God made it possible for people to join their lives in a pledge of constancy and intimacy that mirrors God’s own constancy and intimacy with us. Yes, and love; however much that word is abused in commercialised popular culture, however it has been trotted out as a façade for all manner of false and degraded motives, God’s very identity, offered for us to share in the holy mystery of human marriage, binds hearts and minds and bodies together in a unity that geographical distance and long years of intermittent contact can tax but cannot rend. It is not good for us to be alone, and (the Home Office willing) we have only a shade longer than three weeks left to manage.
 
Thank you, Margaret, for sticking with me through all those long, difficult years — and please, come home to Glasgow, soon.
 

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