Saturday, October 1, 2011

Abiding Love

Thursday was our 10th wedding anniversary! We stayed at a bed and breakfast east of Ogden, Utah that we've wanted to stay at for quite some time. 

So we stayed there, had a nice dinner, then went hiking the next day in Adams Canyon. Life has been pretty interesting for us the last little while and we both needed to get away.

No one said that married life is easy and we have worked hard to get to ten years. Life has had its own twists and turns for us, but at dinner last night I caught a glimpse of something that humbled me.

We went to a really nice restaurant in the canyon and were seated in an area where there were only us and an elderly couple a table away. 

During dinner, it was obvious that something was wrong with the woman and the table was very silent. At one point the lady tried to drink her iced tea and it spilled down her shirt. 

Her husband very soothingly patted her hand and said "it's okay, don't worry about it." Not long after that, the waitress brought out some dessert for the couple. 

There were lit candles and the waitress proceeded to wish them a happy 5fifty-sixth wedding anniversary. The elderly women looked surprised and looked to the man to confirm, he nodded his head that it was true and gestured to the candle for her to blow it out. 

That was quite an ordeal for her to do, but it got done - with help. Not long after that they left the table, which took quite some effort. 

Her husband was so kind and patient and he obviously was in love and in no hurry. He clearly was just trying to make this a nice night for his wife. 

It took ten minutes for them to get to their car. As I watched them, I felt myself get a little teary-eyed as it hit me that this is what love is all about... I'm not even sure I can articulate it...

This couple was gentle with each other, holding hands, looking lovingly into each others' eyes... I'm certain that life together hasn't been one hundred percent pleasant, but they most certainly loved each other. 

This woman possibly suffered a stroke at some point or maybe was dealing with Alzheimer's as well. Though she was old, sagging, belched at dinner, drooled half her drink onto her shirt and her husband had to feed her quite a bit, she was beautiful to him and everything about him showed that's what he felt.

Things don't always work out perfectly or to plan. Many times life is more difficult than it is easy. 

We make mistakes, we argue, we get frustrated, and for what? For the opportunity to love and be loved unconditionally. I'm sure it took years, effort beyond imagination, and patience galore for this elderly couple to get to the level of love that I witnessed. 

I almost felt like an intruder simply being present for their moment. I'm thankful I was able to witness it though. I feel indebted to these strangers for this lesson I learned. 

Now the burden is mine to make sure I do everything possible to love my spouse, so that one day when we drool, forget things, sag and lose control of bodily functions, the other will be there to lovingly pat the others hand and say, "it's okay, don't worry about it" and then look at each other with a deep, abiding love.

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