Invitation to Share Sacred Vow Renewal, July 6th, Every Year!
When Fay and I started to think about celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, we were surprised to find many of our friends reaching a similar milestone, but without any plan to renew their vows. Local ministers seemed uncertain about proper procedure and wording for an event so uncommon, even though the "Minister's Handbook" of most churches and other sacred groups does contain a few pages on "Renewal of Vows."
At a local church we visited Saturday evenings, we made tentative plans for brief ceremony and reception after Saturday worship July 9th. In a state of emotional excitement from the contagion of love, it occurred to me to invite others to renew their vows along with us regardless of their actual day and year.
That led me to wonder, Why not summon every church and sacred place to hold a similar ceremony? And not only this year, but why not every summer during the week starting July 6th?! Surely a Vow Renewal Week every summer could serve a useful, positive role alongside Mother's Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day, etc.
For this year, the group renewal did not occur: I made too many mistakes, got too emotionally involved for the comfort of others, and had too short a time-frame to make adjustments. We Myers-Briggs ENTJs are like that: great ideas sometimes, but weak in practical follow-through, and sometimes a bit too visionary for the practical people whose support we need to make the ideas work.
Fay and I did, however, have a wonderful time renewing our vows with a few friends at our local Subway Restaurant on our actual anniversary day, July 6th (see Hub poem "Wedding Vow Renewal" for a more detailed account).
Now, three weeks later (July 27, 2011), after cooling off a bit, but still in love with every one and every thing (regardless of whether they understand it, or believe it, or not), I can see no reason why the annual ceremony would not be practical, useful, workable, a boon, and a blessing to marriage and all the other committed relationships essential for fully human life in a healthy culture and civilization.
So I keep the poetry of invitation available, and I hope you like it. As you can imagine, I'm not exactly the favorite person in anyone's religious group, so perhaps a more practical reader will help get the idea to some of the leaders (does the Vatican have an e-mail address?).
A Sacred Vow Renewal Every Year
Attn.: Every Church and Dedicated Space
Please put a Sacred Vow Renewal Ceremony on
your scheduled calendar for every program in your space
the first full weekend after July 4th each year.
Church people suffer from the spousal love-less-ness
that plagues the so-called secular society,
and in the same proportion (look it up!), no less.
Ignoring this ignores the church’s reason to exist
(to teach and practice love of God, and neighbor as yourself?)
and slights its sacred role as shepherd tending to its sheep.
The church could lead a renaissance of Holy Love to teach
the different kinds of love, so people won’t get scared, or scarred,
because no one explained to them varieties of loving reach.
A yearly celebration makes a possibility a plausibility
for any couple, once committed to the freedom of a long-term love,
to join along with friends and others in their own community
and speak a vow renewal in a church or other dedicated space.
What Fay and I discovered sailing through the air, we want to share
with other bravely dedicated couples living anywhere.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Max J. Havlick, Villa Park, IL 60181-1938, all rights reserved. First draft written May 26, 2011. Newly edited version found on page 21 of American Sonnets and Other Poems, in a Workshop Setting for New Writers: Twenty-five New Poems and Twelve Workshop Essays Written between April 2011 and April 2012; with an Author's Preface Asking the Question, "Why Do Writers Write What They Do?" (Villa Park, IL, July 2012), privately printed 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" booklet, 56 pages + viii; $20 postpaid.