Sixteen years ago today, I stood in a custom-fitted raw silk dress (thanks, Mama), hand lightly resting in the crook of my Daddy’s arm, smiling at Mr. Man, handsome in his morning coat and striped trousers. Within a few moments–a few breaths, really–we were slipping Celtic knotwork bands on each other’s hands, promising to be true and steadfast, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The choice of vow wasn’t lightly made. Celtic knots are formed with one solid strand, woven in and around itself, with no beginning and no end. I’ve seen plenty of badly-done, broken knots (usually on cheaply made pretty things) to know the real thing when I see it. When I was a teenager, my mother gave my sister and me Celtic heart pendants. The Celtic heart is the single stranded-knot formed at the intersection of three circles–one strand, eternal; three circles, Father, son, and Holy Spirit. Mr. Man and I thought it fitting symbolism, both in the bands and in the vow.

The ring he placed on my finger that day fits more tightly than it did then, but the knots are true. One strand, woven closely with memories and promises, with no breaks despite sixteen years of wear and the inevitable conflicts of two people forming one life together. The strand of a life, woven in love, sealed in the Spirit.

I know the real thing when I see it.

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