Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye 2011 Hello Possibility

Wow! 2011 is finally over! It has been one hellzzzz of a year for this writer. Personal, professional, endless changes. While a few of the memories I will carry of this year are good, the majority are just learning experiences. Not complaining. If not for the tears I've shed, I wouldn't understand the how special a smile is. If not for hunger, I wouldn't be able to savor the succulent taste of steak. In short 2011 has taught me to cherish the bad moments as well as the good because without the bitter there would be no sweet. Well that's about enough of that. Short and sweet , I have learned alot.

Most recently, I was honored by the presence of a very beautiful elderly couple.  How many people in this crazy world take the time to stop and listen to the experiences of the elderly? How many just stop and watch? Beneath their warn and wrinkled skin, the tattered remnants of youth have blossomed into a deep, quiet wisdom. In retrospect what I saw with this one couple isn't as rare as I originally thought. He looks at her. eyes filled with awe and concern. A warm tenderness beneath the rough exterior of age. Although his body has become racked by disease, he notices less his own needs as he caters to hers.

She looks up to him, her legs withered in the chair by which she is carried. Eyes filled with adoration and awe. A gentle worry creases her wrinkled brow when his step falters towards her. The glint of pain flashes briefly in face then dwindles when his gaze meets hers. It has been years since she spoke more then two words to him. Time, disease, stole her voice. Yet the speak to each other. Subtle looks, tender gestures. On inquiry I learned they had met during the Second World War. A time when life was far darker then my generation could possibly imagine. Out of that dark time, how many of these precious couples were formed? The men who hold doors, confident and strong even under the duress of age. The women, graceful, confident, silently reassuring, with a strength to match that of the men. Together they have withstood war, famine, distance, loss. Yet, they stood together. Complementing the weakness of the other with strength.

These couples are hidden everywhere. Sit back and watch. In the mall, the man sitting on the bench waiting with a smile on his lips. Ask him why he's smiling. In the grocery store parking lot, the car blocking two lanes of traffic while the little white haired lady slowly makes her way to the door. Behind the wheel, there is a quietly smiling man who will have to walk far longer then his feet would like. In a hospital room behind a drawn curtain. They are everywhere, yet as you look at the younger couples something is missing. Maybe its time. Maybe its experience.

As the New Year turns, I will be looking for them more. Why? Because they are real. Beyond time, skin, strife, and struggle, they are true. That is what I strive for this year and every year to come. To always look beyond the surface and stay true to things in life that last beyond. Happy New Year to you all. I'll see you on the other side of the countdown.

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