feast of love.

It amused me, at my brother’s wedding, to be reminded of how different he and I are. Mike and I had our ceremony and readings set early, and one of the things I cared most about was having nice bulletins. At my brother’s wedding, they didn’t set the ceremony until the week of the wedding, and there were no bulletins. However, their decorations were better by far.

I did a reading during the ceremony, something that my brother found that they liked. It turned out that it is from a book that I read and enjoyed several years ago.

Here’s a profundity, the best I can do: sometimes you just know . . . You just know when two people belong together. I had never really experienced that odd happenstance before, but this time, with her, I did. Before, I was always trying to make my relationships work by means of willpower and forced affability. This time I didn’t have to strive for anything. A quality of ease spread over us. Whatever I was, well, that was apparently what she wanted . . . To this day I don’t know exactly what she loves about me and that’s because I don’t have to know. She just does. It was the entire menu of myself. She ordered all of it.The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter

The officiant at my brother’s wedding said that he and his wife always feel as if they are renewing their vows when they attend weddings. Perhaps that is why I hold Mike’s fingers tight when the bride walks down the aisle, why he puts his arm around me during the vows. On Saturday, I attended a wedding by myself, and just beforehand, I texted Mike that I would be renewing my vows to him even though he wasn’t there.

All that I am and all that I have, I give to you. We have said it so many times since that day twelve years ago.

It is tempting to believe that I understand all that Mike is and all that he has. We’ve been together over a decade. But if love is a feast, it also changes with the seasons. Just as we eat pumpkin pie in the fall and avoid tomatoes in January, we have learned how to pick and choose our battles, to offer support when needed. When to stay quiet. When to challenge. I learn new things about Mike all the time. He gives me room to grow and change.

We ordered the entire menu without really knowing what we were doing. Because you can’t really know, can you? And now we choose to sit together at the feast of love. We even pulled up a chair for Atticus, who messily offers us his open heart every day. Happy anniversary week to my family of three. I am thankful for the opportunity to taste the joys and sorrows of life with you.

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