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January 28, 2009

Romance and realism

The Christian Lover Reviewing Michael and Victoria Haykin's book The Christian Lover: The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers, Tim Challies quotes from the following letter from Adoniram Judson to his future wife, Ann:

May this be the year in which you will change your name; in which you will take final leave of your relatives and native land; in which you will cross the wide ocean, and dwell on the other side of the world, among a heathen people. What a great change will this year probably effect in our lives! How very different will be our situation and employment!! If our lives are preserved and our attempt prospered, we shall next new year’s day be in India, and perhaps wish each other a happy new year in the uncouth dialect of Hindostan or Burma. We shall no more see our kind friends round us, or enjoy the conveniences of civilized life, or go to the house of God with those that keep holy day; but swarthy countenances will everywhere meet our eye, the jargon of an unknown tongue will assail our ears, and we shall witness the assembling of heathen to celebrate the worship of idol gods. We shall be weary of the world, and wish for wings like a dove, that we may fly away and be at rest. We shall probably experience seasons when we shall be “exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” We shall see many dreary, disconsolate hours, and feel a sinking of spirits, anguish of mind, of which now we can form little conception. O, we shall wish to lie down and die. And that time may soon come. One of us may be unable to sustain the heat of the climate and the change of habits; and the other may say, with literal truth, over the grave:

By foreign hands the dying eyes were closed;
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed;
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorned.

Isn't it romantic?

Well, yes, I think maybe it is. More romantic than our contemporary "We're gonna have a HUGE party and everything after that's gonna be hunky dory!" attitude, anyway. It must be far more conducive to a lasting marriage to acknowledge beforehand that there will be troubles and difficulties, and helping each other prepare to face them. And what's more romantic than doing all one can to ensure that marriage will last?

(Image © Reformation Trust Publishing)

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Comments

Rolley Haggard

Gina, I agree it’s a far, far cry better than most modern fare. Still, until I’m further down the spiritual trail blazed by the likes of Adoniram Judson, I think I’ll take the middle ground, suggested (hopefully) by something along these lines:

Gloria, Imago Dei
© Rolley Haggard

My heart soars on angel wings
At the mention of your name
And I hear the seraphs sing
In the sweetness of your voice
And I sense what glory is
When you’re standing by my side
And you wipe away my tears
When you put your hand in mine.

I’ve seen God’s face
In the beauty of your smile;
I’ve felt God’s grace
In the softness of your touch;
I’ve known God’s love
In the kindness of your heart;
Angels above
Don’t know heaven like I do.

* * *

And this might be my epitaph:

Effigy
© Rolley Haggard

If in this place, unbodily, I came
And urged conviction that the soul - my own -
By barest words upon a stone - my name -
Was me, (not some intruding ghost unknown,
Observing, imitating, yet untrue),
What perfect cue or signal effigy
Distinct from all, assuring only you
That I had come - what would the token be?
Not from without, I think, the sign would show,
But from within where certainty works best;
Mere voice or visage strangers think they know,
But in your heart the truth is manifest:
Unspoken words alight, unspeakable,
And tell a love that was ineffable.

* * *

But if those don’t fly, I’d choose even the much-overused “awesome” over “hunky dory” any day.

Gina Dalfonzo

Those are beautiful, Rolley. Especially the second one.

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