Happy Anniversary Christie
Excerpt: BOFAW, “In Thanksgiving.”
And finally, the omega factor is often the most important in a
list. If readers are not able to see, or perhaps more importantly feel
between the lines, and sense that Christie was the guiding light for
The Biodesign Class and this book, I will have failed. Her quiet life
of prayer and contemplation provided the unseen spirit that hovered
over the hundreds of circles we formed each year to compare, communicate,
and contemplate. Without her, I would likely have been
like Ingrid (class of ’84) who suggested that, “I could have been born,
grown up, grown old, and died without knowing what life was really
It is a bittersweet realization to know that most visitors to Yosemite Valley can easily grasp John Muir’s metaphorical reference to The Valley being a Temple, but not be able to grasp that they are really seeing a reflection of the “temple” within. St. Paul was well aware of this when he wrote:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.
This concept was beautifully illustrated to Christie and me, 15 years after we were married. We attended a “Marriage Encounter,” week-end which was conducted by 15 couples who had dynamic marriages and wanted to share their secrets of success. I came away with three powerful reflections.
1) Feelings are neither right nor wrong, but how you respond to them can be.
2) Each married couple is a “Little Church” and should be a center of worship.
3) In order to accomplish this, each couple should spend 20 minutes a day focusing on their strengths and areas that can be improved.
Neither Christie nor I like to have our pictures taken. We also do not appreciate the misguided idea that “we” were responsible for The Biodesign Class and BOFAW. We were convinced of this the last time we visited Yosemite and Mendocino. Although they were still beautiful, they were hauntingly empty without the laughter, pain, joy and sorrow that the students radiated as they were coming alive.
John Muir did not like being, “Propped up for the populace to gawk at,” and neither do we and so Linda Williamson’s “Foreword” to BOFAW is a little embarrassing.
I now realize that one of the great lessons of Biodesign was learning
how a strong marriage works. Christie was, and is, the strength
behind the scenes; the wind beneath Lowell Young’s wings.
However, I humbly agree with her assessment and hope that if one person (or couple) benefits from this blog, it will not have been written in vain.
After all, 49 years ago, I was minding my own business, in the girls dorm at SFSU, when she walked by, wearing a stunning pink sweater and pants that were discretely too tight.
June 20 marks our 48th wedding anniversary and she is more beautiful now than when we met and can still fit in her wedding dress. LOL We have four fantastic children, nine precious grandchildren and an assorted passel of God-children and “spiritual refugees,” all of who have enriched our lives beyond our wildest dreams.
It shouldn’t be a surprise if I describe our marriage as equivalent to climbing 1,000 Half Domes, hiking Grand Canyon 1,000 times and being lulled to sleep 1,000 times by the Pacific Ocean.
African story tellers often end their stories with this prayer;
“This is my story.
Take from it what speaks truth for you.
The rest, send back home to me with a blessing.”
From both of us.