Today has to be my favo(u)rite Sunday of the year. Every year, the Sunday before Valentine’s Day, we have a “A Celebration and Thanksgiving for Marriage” service at St. Peter's.
Couples, particularly those who were married at St. Peter’s, are invited to “return to the scene of the crime” and recall their beautiful, blissful wedding days.
We all stand, and once again repeat our vows before God and to one another. *SIGH*
Today’s service was especially poignant for me as it was a reminder to me of what it truly important in my life. The fact that after years of living woefully solitary lives, the DEB and I found each other, across space and time. The fact of our meeting and marrying is truly miraculous. And, that is well worth remembering.
Sometimes, this very important fact gets a little lost in the daily shuffle. There are times, in the day-to-day slog of trying to “make something happen” on this side of the Atlantic, that I find myself, well, in tears, frankly. Days when I think of how far I’ve come in my life, how hard I’ve worked/struggled/survived, and yet here I am feeling more of a “zero” than a “hero”.
In the past two and half years, I have struggled to get my writing career off the ground, and been rejected by more agents than I can count. I have applied for four (4) full-time Shakespeare lecturing jobs in a 50 mile radius, interviewed for two (2) of them, and turned-down by them all.
The latest blow came on Thursday:
Dear Dr. Smith-Howard,
Thank you very much for applying to the post in Shakespeare in the Department of… at … University. I am very sorry to have to tell you that we were unable to short-list your application on this occasion. We received a very large number of responses and the field was a truly extraordinarily strong one. I would like to thank you for your application, however, and to say how much I appreciate your interest in the Department.
With all good wishes,
There was a moment, sitting, staring at my computer screen, poised to reply to this message, when I felt as if I were suddenly trapped in a scene from Lord of the Rings.
Allow me to explain.
There’s this bit in Lord of the Rings, I don’t know which one, where the character Smeagol/Gollum is having a debate with himself, or rather the two-sides of him are having an argument... “Kill the Hobbit!” the evil side of Smeagol hisses. “No, no! We love the Hobbit!” the good side pleads.
My internal ‘Bad Smeagol’ dangled a carrot before me: “You could send that cow a short and snarky reply. You’ve got nothing to lose. We’ll show her who is ‘truly extraordinary’!” While my good side begged: “No, no! That wouldn’t be nice or polite at all!”
Every molecule in my body wanted to type venom in an email, it was all I could do to step away from the computer…
It’s incredible how moments of disappointment can overshadow our lives. So much so that we can almost forget the positive, the good, the beautiful, the joyous and the wonderful that surrounds us each day.
Today, I received an email from reader who enjoys my column in Warwickshire Life magazine. The message was short, simple and sweet: “You have a great job!”
In its own way, this, too, was a wake-up call for me. A gentle reminder that it’s not all doom and gloom. Okay, I’d love it if my pay cheque from the magazine had a few more zeroes (noughts) on the end, but, the fact that I am getting paid to write all is a huge blessing!
It is too easy to look at life and lament the things we don’t have, or pine over the things that aren’t the way we’d like them to be. But, to borrow from Shakespeare, “that way, madness lies”.
The key, I think, is thankfulness.
There was a couple scurrying into church this morning. The man, it seemed, was still getting dressed as they jumped from their car. As he fought with his tie, his wife huffed, rolled her eyes and stomped off without him. How ironic, to be behaving in such a way on route to a service where one of the scriptures to be read was: “Love is patient, love is kind…”
No doubt, by the end of the service that couple had made amends. But, it’s human nature, isn’t it? So easy to get caught up in the details, the minutiae, and to lose sight of why we’re here, and what really matters. Not jobs, or status, or success, being right or wrong, what others think of you, or having the last word.
What matters is Love, definitely.