Somehow, I found a man way better than I ever dreamed and fell in love with him. He fell in love with me, thank goodness or that would have been awkward. Since a few months before we realized we were head-over heels for each other, our friends, family, and random strangers have commented regularly on how powerful our display of love and appreciation for one another is.
We’re both open, cheesy, sappy romantics, and are best friends to boot. We are far, far from perfect but even our worst moments have been miraculously love-filled, love-deepening experiences.
I think the world of this man. He is incredibly handsome, sweet, brilliant, caring, talented, powerful, God-fearing, communicative, intuitive, loyal, strong, successful, and downright hilarious.
It is common to find me staring at him with that goopy-eyed mess reserved for cartoons with hearts reverberating from the character’s eyes.
On top of generally having a deep appreciation for who he is as a man, friend, artist, and spirit, I’ve been very intentional about demonstrating my appreciation for every big and little thing he does. I take special care to show appreciation for being open about the bad times.
I’ve showered this man with the (second-) deepest love and affection I could muster, from supporting and encouraging his spiritual walk, career, relationships, and personal development, to feeding every plane of his existence.
Our relationship has been the journey of a lifetime and it’s still only a toddler.
There’s nothing like a wake-up call to add a little perspective.
I realized recently that in spite of all that, I had been taking him for granted.
Not in the obvious, shallow sense. It was much more simple and profound. The reality simply never sunk in that one day he won’t be around. Not that we might break up or that we might have to make it work long distance. Not alive.
The realization and acceptance of mortality is the most effective reminder of what it means to truly appreciate someone.
I found myself moved to tears by the warmth of the skin covering his hand as I held it. The simple awareness that as I gazed on him sleeping peacefully, he was alive, his mind and heart fully functioning. The open joy of hearing him snore and knowing it means he’s breathing deeply.
It’s a scary feeling to look into the eyes of the person you depend on and find they are incapable of finding yours. Every glance after that is a love story.
Thankfully, along with the basic indicators of vitality we can also still enjoy the many other wonders that make our life together so joyous and purposeful.
Still, I pray I never forget that feeling, of knowing the ocean only runs so deep, of touching the bottom of the ocean floor, and knowing it can’t be danced upon.
I pray that forever, I weigh the importance of my choices against the value of life.
I guess, because it’s so hard, it makes stuff really easy.
Not much matters.
Maybe that’s why children and older folks are so carefree and intentional all at once. The beginning and ending of life is free of distraction from what’s most important.
What are you taking for granted?
What have you not acknowledged as impermanent?
What would you revel in with that realization?