I have known my wife for over twelve years. We’ve been inseparable throughout that time.
But for this season, God has called me to Vietnam.
I miss my friend.
Especially on our anniversary.
I am reminded of John Donne’s poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning. Donne, separated from his wife by a great geographical distance, uses a math compass as an image of their love. The further the two points are apart, the further they lean toward the other. The distance draws their hearts closer.
The stationary arm, the wife, causes the writing arm to circle back to its origin. To return home.
So, on the other side of the world where God has deemed me to be separated from my wife during our anniversary, I hold onto the beautiful image John Donne has given me.
Happy Anniversary, Kristin. May our love and friendship grow even more.
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A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“The breath goes now," and some say, “No,"
So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.
Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.
Dull sublunary lovers’ love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.
But we, by a love so much refined
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion.
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two:
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do;
And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like the other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.