Crowns and Independence

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We got crowned! (Our youngest child was married.)

 

Monday Morning Musings:

 

 “Love is the crowning grace of humanity, the holiest right of the soul, the golden link which binds us to duty and truth, the redeeming principle that chiefly reconciles the heart to life, and is prophetic of eternal good.”

–Petrarch

“We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence.”

–Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

 

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

–Nelson Mandela

 

It has been a mostly beautiful weekend to celebrate the birth of our nation,

colonies declaring independence from the crown

I think of how crown rhymes with clown,

and it amuses me–

I think of all the clowns who’ve worn crowns

and how often the jester or fool has been the wise man.

 

Last year on this day, the Fourth of July,

Independence Day,

My husband and I wore paper crowns,

parents of the bride

a nod to custom,

and an affectionate tribute to a family tradition

of the birthday crowns we construct.

Our daughter carried a fan she designed

with a quotation from Jane Eyre,

“Reader I married him.”*

 

She and our now son-in-law vowed to love and cherish

each other, to join together

forming “a more perfect union”

like colonies becoming states, and then a union,

it is a process that goes beyond the simple declaration of intent

of independence and dependence

a balancing act,

not dependence,

rather, respecting one another,

and enhancing the best in each.

Perhaps our nation could benefit

from a bit of marriage counseling.

 

We had planned to see a baseball game with them,

baseball, the great American pastime,

what could be more perfect?

But because it was raining with violent storms in the forecast

we went to dinner with them instead–

food, that like our nation, was a mixture of all types,

vegan entries, steak for my husband, salads,

Buffalo sauce and Sriracha

many flavors and textures

sharing space on the table.

 

The weather had improved by the next day,

glorious weather for celebrating,

though we stayed at home

listening to fireworks in the distance.

We watched a movie, Belgian, but in French

(Remember how France joined us in fighting

their English enemy though France was still

a monarchy with a King who wore a crown?)

Two Days, One Night,

Marion Cotillard, a wife and mother,

works in a solar-panel factory,

with the help of her husband and support from friends,

she spends the weekend asking her co-workers to vote for her to keep her job,

even though if they do so, they will lose their bonuses.

We make all sorts of negotiations in life,

When is it right give up something that will benefit ourselves

in order to help someone else?

It is a decision each must decide.

Dependence and independence.

 

The sun rises, a crown of pink and orange

beaming golden rays into the azure sky,

spokes like those of Lady Liberty’s crown

promising liberty, standing on a broken chain,

given to the United States by the people of France,

inscribed with the date, July 4, 1776,

a symbol,

not a reality for all

but something to strive for

Liberté, égalité, fraternité,

Emily Dickinson said,

“Hope is the thing with feathers,”

but hope is also the sun rising and setting

each day

and hope is the joining of two in marriage

and love is our shining crown.

Embed from Getty Images

 

*This essay by Claire Fallon discusses the line “Reader, I married him,”

3 Quotes 3 Days: Day 1

“Reader, I married him.”

–Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Jane Dougherty, prolific writer of stories, poems, pets, and life in France nominated me for this challenge: to post a favorite quote for three successive days.

I don’t often do blog challenges, and I have a lot going on right now, but this one seems manageable. And I love quotes!

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. I probably first read it when I was about 12 or 13. I read it again in high school, college, and when I was in grad school—when I actually picked-up on some of the 19th century cultural ideas (such as phrenology) that are discussed in the book. I read it again when my girls were little, and then when they were a bit older. Jane Eyre—I guess she’s been a companion through my life. This particular quote has even more significance for me now because my younger daughter chose it to adorn the fan she made and carried as she walked down the aisle during her recent wedding. It is trimmed with lace from my wedding veil. (Pause for everyone to say “awwwww.”) Her bridesmaids also carried handmade fans with literary quotations–totally appropriate for a woman who met her love while acting opposite him in A Streetcar Named Desire and who now teaches English. Jane Eyre is one of her favorite books, too.

Wedding fan.

Wedding fan.

The passage from Jane Eyre continues:

“A quiet wedding we had: he and I, the parson and clerk, were alone present. When we got back from church, I went into the kitchen of the manor-house, where Mary was cooking the dinner and John cleaning the knives, and I said—‘Mary, I have been married to Mr. Rochester this morning.’”

I’m going to nominate only one person on each day, and I’ve tried to pick people who also love quotes. There’s no pressure, and if you choose not to accept the challenge, that is absolutely fine with me. Feel free to pass it along, or not. On this first day, I nominate Marian Beaman: “Former Plain Girl” (turned college professor). Check out her blog.

She has a quotation for every occasion, so I hope she’ll accept the challenge.

Also—sorry, but I can’t seem to stop writing this post–readers may be interested in Malala Yousafzai’s campaign, #booksnotbullets. You can read about it here.

I’ve posted a photo of myself on Twitter holding a copy of Jane Eyre. Of course.

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