FOR DON - Wedding Vows / by D.M. Jerman

To My Very Dearest Don,

Good evening, my only. My adored one.

I confess here that until recently I have enjoyed resistance. I relish the control of saying no.
Excesses of indulgence always seem to bring me closer to existential dread- to the feelings of loss and melancholy- and less to the truth of my own acutely customized path. 

I suppose this is what zealots mean when they say "temptation", and what I have been really trying to cultivate is a kind of personal temperance. A place for safety, grace, positive work and goodwill.

We are human and so we must go out into a world filled with other humans in order to understand our place. We meet many who do not share our perceived values.
An example: when people say "I have an addictive personality." It's always a red-flag. It sounds like an excuse to me. Like a threat. This is someone saying: "Just wait. I will behave badly and it will cost you. You'll see."

But then we grow, and grey areas come into view. We understand the meaning behind the words being used by those with whom we wish to feel close, even if we don't know why.
And it is there- found among these grays: a sweeping rainbow. In it is the discovery of the nuances of suffering and joy. In it is the cognizance of the magnificence of imperfection. In generosity, serendipity, the azure highlights of unknowable tomorrows.
Here, a tolerance blossoms. A compassion cleans the air.

As writers we understand intimately how, in this beautiful life, we do build so much diction racket.
Our exquisite experience expands in proportion to what we can get away with, which is dependent solely on our vocabularies and how we give ourselves permission to use them. 
It is perhaps we, with our hyper-inflated hearts, who have most used the word 'love' to get over on someone. We've spoken about this. How"I love you" is a phrase often too easily discarded in manipulation.

'Love', however, is not our word, Don.
Amoaeternum is. Amoinfinitum. Eternalove. Lovforever.
One compound word inscripted upon these rings. Coined to get at the precise edge for which we have so long endured search. For this purest thing- slipping past transgressions and accidents and strangeness and fear. This purest ideal- slicing beyond sadness, illness, weariness and poor humor. THIS: an untouchable without any name but what we give to it. The most unidentifiable, yet undeniably alive.
A something like music, or the miracle of a sunriseā€¦
THIS is what I give to you when I give you my future.

Therefore, and in addition-
Donald Ray Hall, this is what I, Dana Marie Jerman, will do for you:

I vow to use all my personal reservoirs of power to help you in your endeavors in this life. To come to your aid, and to trust that you know what you need, and to do as you ask.
I vow to give you my trust by sharing my shame and my hubris. To keep my thoughts open to you. To listen, though I may be at times irritated and filled with misunderstanding.
To continually acknowledge where it all began, and to go there when things grow difficult. To start from the beginning - with a smile and with a kiss.
I vow to know, in the most tender and intimate of my world-heavy artists' heart, that you are first. That our vows of being together will manifest something larger than each of us could alone.

So today, and each day forward, I express to you infinite gratitude, infinite delight, Infinitelove.

Thank you.

I am, most sincerely and always-