Today, our twenty-fourth anniversary, I share just a few of the things my Carol Elaine Durkin Trott is to me.
I jump out of my skin
When you touch me with your existence
I cannot learn enough about you
And the brilliant gold
Of you, completely real, real.
Regardless of philosophy or books
Events progress inevitably forward
And you exist,
teacher of my heart and mind
I fly off-center,
unsure of things as they are
Without your presence
and your acceptance
Do I speak of you or of God?
His love is so blended with yours,
I sometimes cannot tell
I miss you simply, completely
until your face fills my eyes
and your breath touches my neck, softly
My teacher, teacher
What will we learn next?
The primary lesson Carol has taught and continues to teach me? Speak God’s Love with your hands. All other languages are echoes of the language of service, of hospitality. Carol’s actions take place in the world of small and mostly unnoticed, unseen things. Like God, her actions require wakefulness on my part before they are noticed or appreciated. But if I am awake, I observe a thousand acts of love in the space of one day.
I saw my sweet Carol rise up like a bird
The trees clapped bony hands
At the one who loves them.
The woman rises early and loves with her hands
Her heart strings are her fingers
And she plucks notes from even strangers.
I observed her carefully filling bird feeders
Though we were city-bound in only an hour
“A waste,” I thought, but remembered God’s seeders.
I heard my dearling singing and cleaning
the world paid no attention
to the one scrubbing its face, loving it.
She is like a tree, planted beside a river of desire
Christ courses through her bark
and her leaves caress the restless breeze.
Not in small part because of my dearling, I became aware of my own tendency to harshness and traditionally male ego masquerading as “taking the husband’s place” in our marriage. I turned toward both feminism and the bible, finding in them very much agreement about loving and mutuality. Carol smiles, saying I led her into becoming a feminist… yet she doesn’t know it was my need to love her better that forced me to do so!
“See, this is what I found, says the Teacher, adding one thing to another to find the sum, which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I have found, but a woman among all these I have not found.”
They tell me I must rule you
Shepherd you firmly
And protect you from yourself
They dare to tell me
They tell me you are inferior
Weaker, I am superior
My pride says, “Amen!”
But alone I ponder their words
We walk before men who judge
Who lay down law as gospel
And neglect Christ’s love
(Am I one of them?)
I reject these foolish men
These arrogant and violent men
Mongers after power
They have Satan in their souls
I want to lead, and be led
To love, and be loved
To shepherd, and be shepherded
By love’s example
At last I can love and be loved
By a woman after God’s own heart
Whose ear inclines to my meager wisdom
As the flower bends to the sun
Oh, lover! Oh, friend!
Your light emanates from the Eternal
And your submission from freedom
I, your husband, wear a crown
Fashioned in your strong and willing hands
Placed there by God’s favor
And your choice
Solomon . . . eat your heart out!
And in response, how can I help but lean toward her wisdom as a flower to the sun? God’s Spirit lives in her no less, and perhaps more, than in my own heart.
As we grow older, my dearling teaches me how to do so gracefully, with acceptance.
Spin me around in your arms
Let me feel your hands upon my shoulder blades
Take me against your small warm body
Dance with me until we weary
Tell me of your love for me
I’m not tired of hearing it from your inmost heart
Whisper how you feel tonight
Against my shoulder, head on my chest
We are not young as some lovers count youth
We are slow to claim great things
And quick to bow when circumstance blows
Bow, not break, for love endures all
I have made many choices in my life. Two choices stand above all others as my best and wisest. The first was made by a desperate sixteen year old, and set the course of the rest of my life. The second was made by a weary, abandoned father of two tiny girls, and brought me a lover, best friend, and teacher in the arts of Agape. My dearest Carol…. I love you and thank God for this greatest gift aside from himself I’ve ever received. The undeserved and astonishing gift of your love.
–Jon – September 2, 2013