Day 3 was far less hectic than the first two days. I started off writing, followed by a catch-up phone chat with an old friend which was put on pause when the groom (my uncle and the reason for this Vegas trip) stopped by to pick me up for breakfast. Breakfast was followed by a nap and the nap was followed with dinner (still on NYC time). It was a good dinner with good company. Though I was tempted to go back to bed I resisted the urge and went exploring instead. All in all, Day 3 was a good day.
Here’s what I came away with…
You can learn a lot about a person by the way they speak about the person they choose or chose to spend their life with.
My uncle’s wedding is later today. Of all the weddings I’ve been invited to this year, I was most looking forward to this one. Weddings are in the minority in my family and of the marriages I’ve seen in my family, I can understand why. But the magic of weddings is that each one projects the possibility of happily ever after. Speaking to my uncle over breakfast about his upcoming nuptials left me sort of sad. He says she’s beautiful, he calls her his queen and in almost every phrase he speaks in reference to her, he proclaims his love for her. However, there’s no sharing of experiences or instances that connect them.
But what struck me most during my brief visit with my uncle is that I didn’t see joy and happiness in his countenance. He’s generally a jolly and easy-going person – he wasn’t even that. Nor did I see any light in his eyes. In the year that he’s been proclaiming her beauty, he has spoken no other words that hint at a deep or lasting bind between two people. That saddened me because of all my uncles, his spirit seemed the most like mine. His gentleness and sincerity were the most like mine, as were his exuberance and affection.
I didn’t see the man I was expecting to see… maybe that’s on me.
For dinner, I went to Benihana – it was my first time and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I’ve been single all my adult life, so I am used to dining and traveling alone. Hence, I was a bit taken aback when the hostess walked me to a nearly full table with one empty seat. I was about to tell the hostess that I was not with that party when a woman at the far end of the table called out, “Are you by yourself? I’m by myself too! You can sit next to me.” Folks shifted to let me in and I had one of the most enjoyable dining experiences while traveling that I can remember.
One of the first things my fellow lady traveler told me after I sat down was that she’s a widow. I knew that was significant, I just didn’t know how to address it immediately. As we chatted with one another and the couples at the table, we learned that we have similar interests, a like sense of humor and we even share the same profession. After some time, I asked her how long she’s been a widow. She responded, “Three and a half years.” Then I made the mistake many people make with me: I assumed her joy meant she was alright with her lot in life. I gaffed and said, “Are you getting used to it?” She quickly corrected me, “I’m adjusting.” She later said, “I spent my first twenty-five years single; my second twenty-five years married; and now I’m just trying to figure out what my next twenty-five years are going to hold.”
This saddened me for a different reason. From her simple statement, I sensed the depth of her pain and loss. I heard what she had become: joined to another she had shared half her life with; and I heard what she was determined to do: live a life that honored all that she was and all that she carried in her heart.
What I know about love: Love changes your countenance; it lifts you up and shines a light that glows from within you.
I don’t want a convenient “love” that looks and sounds “right”. I want a love that’s so deep and binding that in its unspeakableness those looking upon me get the message.
Be blessed as you go and love today. Love is more than a word and more than one day. Love consumes your being and redefines everything you thought you were. Guard your heart and your heart will guard everything that is precious in you.
Peace and blessings to you all.