A Cool Review for Shine in the Guardian

Shine by Candy Gourlay
'A precious and important novel that also explores exile from neighbours, family and country. The book is about reinvention and the faces we present to the world, whether it be in person, on a postcard or on the internet, all wrapped up in an exciting and perfectly paced story with a disturbing and dramatic climax.'
Philip Ardagh, The Guardian
Read the review

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Love is not all you need - celebrating 25 years of hard labour

What a feeling! It was the best day.
The other day, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

It seems like such a long time ago now, and looking back on that day - fairy lights twinkling on the coconut trees outside the church, we really had no idea what the next 25 years would hold for us. I had not imagined three children. I had not imagined living in London this long. Nor had I imagined who we would become, what we would be like.

So getting here is something of a miracle.


Looking through our wedding album today, I found a copy of the sermon delivered by our friend Brian Allan, a Canadian broadcast journalist who also happened to be an Anglican priest and married to my best friend.

Brian passed away quite a few years ago now, but his eloquent message on our special day still resonates with me.

I'd love to share Brian's words with you:

With Brian, who is much missed.
10 December 1986

Just the other night, one of our fellow journalists said to me at dinner, 'I hear you're doing the wedding of the century.'

It made me smile because I realized I really was the one marrying Richard and Candy: and that Candy, being her typical self, about three years ago about this time of year, arrived at the front door of another church, hugged the nervous groom, and yelled into the betamax camera, 'But, Brian, you said you were going to marry me!'

Well, Candy, let it never be said that I don't keep my promises.

The words 'the wedding of the century' also made me smile because the last time that phrase was used was when yet another Englishman was getting married. And the Archbishop of Canterbury started that wedding sermon off with the words: 'This is the stuff that fairy tales are made of.'

I would guess that that's how most of us feel about weddings, anyway - with or without a prince and a princess. But I don't.

Candy and Richard, I believe that the wedding day is the climax of romance: the end of falling in love; and the beginning of the very difficult task of loving one another day in and day out.

Everyone loves to fall in love: in fact, I believe that, these days, many people are much more in love with falling in love than they are with each other.

Loving is not a simple task. Look at the kind of things that love is: love is patient. Love is kind and envies none. Love is never boastful nor conceited nor rude, never selfish, not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs -- the list goes on and on.

Candy, Richard, these things don't come easily to a relationship. It's not easy to be patient with the same person day after day, year after year. It is not easy not to be quick to take offence or keep no score of the wrongs you will inevitably do to one another through the years.

These things are not easy under any circumstances. But add to that cultural differences, and they are often harder.

Candy, no doubt  you will have longings for home, for family and friends. You may even find out first hand what prejudice is, and it will be hard not to envy Richard.

Richard, you will have to deal with the cultural differences and values that are important to Candy, and all of the little things she will have to do to make  your house her home -- and it may be very hard not to take offence.

You see then what love is not. It is not easy.

What love is, is hard work. But if you work at it, it will remain; and there will be no limits to its faith, its endurance; there will be nothing it, you cannot face.

If you work at loving, then that wondrous, mysterious power that takes two such opposites as man and woman and draws them together into one flesh, will see you through it all - and more.

If you work at loving, your love will shine forever as brightly as it does today, and will indeed be like the light upon the lampstand; and will give light to all you meet.

if you work at loving, then long after the flowers have wilted, the wedding dress has faded, and all the fairy lights on the lawn have died - love will remain.

And that, Candy and Richard, is the stuff reality is made of.


We had a delicious lunch at the Meridien on Picadilly and the lovely staff surprised us with this delicious treat!  Thank you!




8 comments :

  1. These words are so powerful and beautiful and (of course) true. I'm not sure if I agree that a wedding day is the climax of romance or the end of falling in love. I do know that without the without the falling madly in love, those years of hard slog--in whatever form they take--and the staying together when so many other marriages fall by the wayside, would be impossible. It takes a special couple to stay together and stay in love. Contrats!

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    1. Thanks, Jane! And we outlasted the other wedding of the century!

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    2. ... and to be fair, there are times when one is more in love than others!

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  2. What a great message. And how cool you saved it all these years. And look at all your accomplishments in marriage - beautiful children, a huge love and respect for each other that I saw so clearly in Tennessee. And I would like to think of the cultural differences as "enhancements."

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    1. Thanks, Catherine! I don't think there's a marriage in the world where there are no cultural differences!

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  3. What a beautiful message. Happy silver wedding anniversary Mr and Mrs Gourlay! I agree, love is not all you need :)

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  4. Gorgeous, congratulations to you both!

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