On the 20th anniversary of my husband's Martin's death, I woke up this morning early with Mahler's 8th symphony singing through my mind and heart and imagination.
I was a convert from an atheistic Jewish home, but my husband came from an orthodox Jewish background from the lower east side of NYC where most of the children were 2nd generation from the Polish immigrants. They mostly became atheist left-wingers.
He was searching for God, however, and found a relationship to Christ through music, especially that of the Jew who became a Catholic, Gustav Mahler. The vision of Catholic truth that Mahler enshrined in the 8th symphony was rapturous, transcendent. The part my husband especially loved was the music in that symphony that Mahler composed with the lines from Goethe's Faust "all that is earthly is only an image...eternity, eternity, eternity."
On our wedding rings my husband had the engraving of the word "ewig" - eternity.
Now, just before this 20th anniversary of Martin's death, someone was talking about a wife being jealous of her husband's love of music. My marriage had plenty of strife in it for many decades, but the 20th anniversary of my widowhood morning came with Mahler's 8th melodies in my heart and also the whole sense of everything absolutely wonderful about him.
I felt how ALL OF US, in marriage, and other close bonds, give not what we succeed at - we give what we LOVE.
He gave me what he loved: music, life, love of our children. And I gave him what I loved: the truth of the Catholic faith and love for the unique selves of each of my children.
And with that came a desire to show more appreciation for what each of my adult children loves and what the grandchildren love. That what they love is more important than what they succeed at.
As God pours out on us, all HIS LOVE FOR TRUTH, BEAUTY, LIFE, AND US.
This all happened in November, but I thought you, my readers of this new blog, might want to use it as a Christmas meditation. As you gather in families or remember in your hearts long past times with close ones, think about what each person loves(d) the most. And, then, what you, yourself, love that God teaches you to love. "And the word became flesh and dwelt among us."