"My Tribute to My Wife, My Lover, My Best Friend"
Today was my 24th wedding anniversary, and as I sit here in the quiet evening, I reflect on those years. They were but a moment, a flash, an instant, and yet an entire lifetime. I can remember the time before, but I can't seem to feel it as I have in the more recent years. Love is funny that way. It is often said that the Irish and the Scots are tongue tied by love. Being an Irishman, I hope that words won't get in the way of what I really want to say.
One of the things that I find interesting is that, as I walked this earth for the first half of my life, alone, I thought that I possessed everything I would ever need to make me happy. I was strong and independent with a sense of purpose, which, at that period in time, seemed unerring. I was my own man and needed only my own gifts and talents to be forever content, peaceful, and successful. My friends and family had given up on the idea that marriage was ever in my future and had even collected their bets as each year passed.
I wasn't looking for someone to share what I had and had become, because, without realizing it, I was very selfish in the name of an accomplished person. There were many girls and then, in later life, ladies with whom I was willing to share moments of my life. But I was never willing or desirous to share my entire life.
Isn't it funny how God is so subtle and wise? I had no idea I was even looking for someone until I walked into a room one day and saw a pair of eyes that stopped me in mid-sentence and mid-step. I had been all over the world; I had seen oceans and islands, mountains and valleys, sunrises and sunsets, and I thought that these experiences defined what was most beautiful in my world. But those eyes seemed to burn into my very soul and spirit, and all that I had known as beautiful was no longer fresh but pale and obscured by some invisible fabric that I could neither see nor touch. The only clear thing in my life at that moment was those soft and inviting eyes. They weren't even looking at me, but I could hear them speak. No, that is not really correct – I could hear them sing.
It was if something had happened to my memory, and all that I had ever done to that point never really happened. All before was a dream. The only reality to me now was that face and those loving eyes. I was afraid to speak and retreated from the room to regain my composure. Yet, every time I closed my eyes, I could only remember hers and that soft smile and gentle voice. Where in my life would I ever find the courage to approach such a person and say anything of consequence? It was at that moment that I realized how alone I had been all of my life, and that, no matter what I had thought of myself in the past, I had never been a whole person.
I wanted to touch her, just to see if she were real. But I didn't know how. My touch would never be gentle enough for her fragile beauty. After days of trying, I found myself alone with her and knew at that moment that my life had changed; I had stopped loving myself more than I now loved another person. I didn't so much want to possess her as to be possessed by her. To be near her would be enough from that point on in my life. I now had found true meaning, true virtue, true adventure, and true love. For the first time, I wanted to surrender to something greater than myself: Love.
As I reflect back on it now, it is obvious that I grow more in love with her each day. Through her I have come to know the meaning of contentment. But, strangely, I find myself selfish again, just in a much different way. I am becoming jealous of any real time we are apart, because, unlike when I was young, I know I will not live forever. What gift of time we have left together will be as those years before – an instant, a flash, a moment.
Now I can finally rest and need to search no more. For in her I have found my enough. Anything more would be diminishment. I am finally a whole person. I am in love with love, and after this, what more could I ever want?