I’ve gathered many gems from the rich vein of Alice von Hildebrand’s “apostolate of being” over the years of our friendship. Among them is her way of looking for and rejoicing in “bonds” between her and those she loves, and delighting when she finds them. “That’s another bond between us!” is a characteristic phrase of hers.
The fact that they were both born and raised in Europe is a bond between her and my husband. If she suddenly remembers a Flemish word learned in childhood more than 75 years ago, she’ll find a way of bringing it into the conversation—as a way of both exhibiting and deepening this particular bond between them. If I mention my regret over my weakness and irritability, or my practical ineptitude, she’ll say with all compassion: “Dear one, that’s another bond between us.” Their love of classical music and all great art was among the great bonds between her and her husband.
It goes without saying that the higher rank of the value in question, the deeper that bond will be. Religious values create the deepest bonds, then moral values, and so on down the line to much more modest but still real things, like a shared love of Italian food or a hatred of loud trucks.
I thought of this today, because October 6th is our son—whose middle name is Hildebrand—Max’s birthday. It’s also the birthday of her father-in-law, the great sculptor, Adolf von Hildebrand. A bond between us.
I know she’s thinking of it today too.
UPDATE: When I first wrote this post I mistakenly identified Oct. 6th as the birthday of AvH’s father, Henri, who in fact was born on February 6th. She kindly corrected me.