to my daughter
As I reflect upon your wedding day, I do not know what I will write or where the words will go. I pray my love would be as ink, my heart a letter that you may fold and carry as you go. If there is a single word that owns the all of me, it is found in daddy and so I write to you today with the sound of it resounding in my ear.
Children come to rest upon a fathers heart like dew that settles on a grass, with such soft stillness that neither grass nor heart know that they have been consumed. They come like rain upon the surface of a lake and then vanish, water into water. Forever more, the lake can not define what in itself is rain or what is lake.
Like the lake and the rain, I do not know where you begin or where I end. I only know that you are here and that my banks are marked and embedded with who you are. There is a channel carved deep within my heart that carries the rain of every yesterday and leaves your water lapping, forever and gently, at my shores.
Fathers can not give away their daughters anymore than the lake can give back the rain, anymore than the grass can give back the dew. Instead, a gracious God, provides another lake to hold the rain a father can not hold. A place for overflow to spill upon a husbands heart, to mark his banks, to carve a channel deep into his heart and to lap forever, at his shores. Today, as your rain prepares to fall again, all my yesterdays move across the surface of my lake and I hear them whisper, you are still, forever daddy.
I wish today, that I could impart to you, the secret of a happy marriage, but, I haven't anything to give but what I have learned within the boundaries of my own.. Whatever else, I say of marriage, above all else, remember this; As I look back upon my life, marriage is the greatest place I've ever been. It did not come because of hope. It did not come of wish nor did it come of feeling. It came of promise and promise is the call upon your life today. I pray that what I've learned will help you pack for an extraordinary journey.
I've learned that the problem confronting every marriage is best viewed when looking back into a mirror.
I've learned that a soul mate isn't the someone you find, it is someone you refuse to lose.
I have learned that marrying the right person is less important than becoming the right person.
I've learned that time does not heal every wound. Healing is reserved for the ointment of forgiveness. Left to time alone the smallest wound will drain the life from any marriage. Love may be the water from which the marriage drinks, but forgiveness is the well from which love must draw the water.
Finally, and at the heart of all that matters, I have learned that feelings are insufficient in measuring the depth of any love. Feelings are like the leaves that dress the tree but they will not keep the tree anymore than feelings will keep the heart. Such burden belongs to roots and promise is the root that keeps a marriage.
It isn't that feelings are unimportant, but all too often we are simply in love with the "feeling" of being in love.
The marriage that last forever is born of promise that last forever. Born of rain that does not measure what it gives because the more it gives, the greater the vanishing of itself into the other.
If what I've written seems unfair, if it seems too much of the responsibility comes to bear upon who you are and what you do, then I have written well. Marriage is about the conquest of self and not the conquest of another. It is about the surrender of your own importance for the privilege of exaggerating someone elses. It is about enduring winters because you know that Spring will come again. It is about trusting life to roots, about a promise made between lake and rain.
It is the nature of rain to sacrifice itself into the filling of a lake. To become part and all of where it falls. It neither counts nor measures what it gives in falling. So it is with love. Every moment that loves assesses, counts or measures what it gives in response to what it gets, it looses its way and forgets the purpose that begged its coming. The depth of every love is revealed, not from the heart which responds in equal measure, but from the completeness of its own surrender.
So my Princess, I am here today, not to give away, but to witness the falling of a rain and the coming of a lake. I come to steal into the fabric of your heart and to leave there, a thread with which to weave a father's prayer.
I pray that you will never turn from this journey; that you may know the length and breadth, the height and the depth of love that is rooted to a promise. I pray that this day, will be hammered out upon an anvil of faith and forged in a fire of resolve. I pray that right will never yield to the ever moving horizon which comes to flirt with feeling. I pray that forgiveness will always bathe your heart and wash from there whatever hurt might beg to stay. I pray that the love you have today, will trust the power of promise and bring you an eternal spring.
So my princess, breathe the promise. Cling to it, like a child within the womb and somewhere along the way, he will hear your heart whisper across the surface of his lake. " Neither you nor I, will ever know again, where one begins or where one ends. I am forever more, water of your water".