Category Archives: Personal – Wife

My Wife on Mother’s Day

Statue of mother with children at the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno

A few days ago I remembered my own mother on the centennial of her birth.  But on this Mother’s day, I’d like to acknowledge my wife Jane, for her lifetime of loving mothering.

Jane lost her own mother to cancer when she was just a teenager and she spent countless hours caring for her ailing mother. Devastated by that loss she proceeded to chart her own independent life course—one in which she became, as Dickens said of Copperfield, the hero of her own life.

Jane’s parental style is characterized by unconditional love. To this day they are never far from her mind. She still tries to shield them from life’s pain and labors to the point of exhaustion on their behalf. Her only wish? That she had more hands and more time.

She does all this because that’s the life she chooses. That is where her joy is—in service and sacrifice. You can psychoanalyze all you want. Maybe she should take her life’s savings and travel the world. Perhaps she should pursue art or music or writing. Perhaps.

But perhaps we need more people in this world who love unconditionally. Maybe we need more saints and fewer sinners. Maybe in giving we truly do receive. All I know is that the world is a better place because of her lovely soul. If love is the answer then Jane is part of the answer.

There is so much ugliness in this world. So how lucky for me and my children that we have been surrounded by her love. She is truly “a lily among the thistles.”

Lilium candidum 1.jpg

35th Wedding Anniversary

JohnJaneMesserlyWedding

My wife and I on August 9, 1980

I was married 35 years ago today. My wife and I were both 25 years old, young enough to believe that we had unending time and continual joy in front of us. It turned out we had neither. Time is finite; joy real but impermanent, oftentimes quickly morphing into its opposite. My father used to say that “life was a series of joys and sorrows.” I have found this to be true.

We began naive in the ways of love. At our wedding we danced to a popular song of the time which captured the feelings of both young and mature love with its beautiful melody and romantics lyrics:

Through the years as the fire starts to mellow
Burning lines in the book of our lives
Though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow
I’ll be in love with you, I’ll be in love with you

Music adds much to lyrics, but words sometimes say more. Here are the words penned by Will Durant, when thinking about Ariel, his wife of almost 70 years.

Do not be so ungrateful about love … to the attachment of friends and mates who have gone hand in hand through much hell, some purgatory, and a little heaven, and have been soldered into unity by being burned together in the flame of life. I know such mates or comrades quarrel regularly, and get upon each other’s nerves; but there is ample recompense for that in the unconscious consciousness that someone is interested in you, depends upon you, exaggerates you, and is waiting to meet you at the station.[i]

Yet there is something beyond both words and music … action. Loving is doing things you sometimes don’t want to do because that’s what your beloved wants. I hope I do that because I know my wife does. Thank you Jane for all these wonderful years.

Oh, and here’s a silly song one for you:

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[i] Durant, On the meaning of life, 125-26.

My Wife’s 60th Birthday

On September 12th, 1954 a little girl was born in south St. Louis. One little girl born in one hospital, in one city, on one planet, at one precise moment in the vastness of space and time. A miraculous occurrence that made the world better and more beautiful. Simple words to describe what happened when Jane was born—goodness and beauty increased in the world.

But Jane didn’t keep this goodness and beauty to herself—she shared it by loving. Everyone who has ever touched or been touched by Jane has felt the warmth of her love. The circle of her love and concern begins with family but extends to the whole world. If the world was full of people like her, how beautiful it would be. She is a shining star in a dark world, she is incorruptible, she is impossible not to love.

I don’t know if my love for my wife is important in the whole scheme of things. I don’t know if anything is. But I know that my life is richer and happier and less lonely and more joyful because of her. And I know the world needs love because it makes life worth living. Meeting Jane long ago rendered the inevitable loneliness of life more than tolerable, it rendered life meaningful. What began as a glance has lasted a lifetime. I was blessed.

Still my words are powerless to express my love. Maybe I can say it in a song.

34th Wedding Anniversary

JohnJaneMesserlyWedding

My wife and I on August 9, 1980

I was married 34 years ago today. My wife and I were both 25 years old. We believed we had unending time and joy in front of us. It turned out we had neither. Time is finite; joy real but impermanent, oftentimes quickly morphing into its opposite. My father used to say that “life was a series of joys and sorrows.” I have found this to be true.

We began naive in the ways of love. At our wedding we dance to a popular song which captured the feelings of both young and mature love with its beautiful melody and romantics lyrics:

Through the years as the fire starts to mellow
Burning lines in the book of our lives
Though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow
I’ll be in love with you, I’ll be in love with you

Music adds much to lyrics, but words sometimes say more. Here are the words penned by Will Durant, when thinking about Ariel, his wife of almost 70 years.

Do not be so ungrateful about love … to the attachment of friends and mates who have gone hand in hand through much hell, some purgatory, and a little heaven, and have been soldered into unity by being burned together in the flame of life. I know such mates or comrades quarrel regularly, and get upon each other’s nerves; but there is ample recompense for that in the unconscious consciousness that someone is interested in you, depends upon you, exaggerates you, and is waiting to meet you at the station.[i]

Yet there is something beyond both words and music … action. Loving is doing things you sometimes don’t want to do, because that’s what your beloved wants. I hope I can do that, because I know my wife can. Thank you Jane for all these wonderful years.

Oh, and here’s a silly song one for you:

__________________________________________________________________________

[i] Durant, On the meaning of life, 125-26.