The new bride is glowing from the inside; the groom so proud he can hardly get the words out fast enough.
“We’ve been married exactly 2 hours,” he said. “My first and her last.”
True love does not arrive on a schedule convenient exclusively to the young.
I’m standing outside a hotel, valets moving back and forth like leaves swirling winter breeze.
“We both last saw each other in high school,” he said. “If you flipped the pages of the yearbook, there we were together.”
She tells me how they were good friends years ago before they went their separate ways – she created a life and family one world, and he went off to Europe and other faraway places. They reconnected recently.
They are heading out for their first dinner as husband and wife. There is no flowing white wedding gown or stuffy black tux in front of me. On the contrary, they are entering the world this night as man and wife dressed with confidence gained experiencing life.
My wife and I share hugs with them and head inside the hotel, leaving the newlyweds to their night. I can’t help but feel as if all is right in the universe this night and I’ve seen something special.
Love is strange. Hard to define, difficult to accurately describe, but when you see the real thing, you know it instantly.
“Youth is wasted on the young,” so goes a saying handed down from one generation to the next. And as each of us gains another year on the calendar, we tend to agree more. “If we only knew then was we knew now,” we say to ourselves.
Love is one of those areas, too.
The other day I found myself apologizing to my wife for my immaturity early in our relationship. And as much as I realize I am not the only husband wearing a badge for selfish behavior, that does not relieve me of self-aware guilt I carry for my actions.
“Hey, you’re here now,” she says. “And we’re here now.”
When young, you feel as is if love is something magical, bursting into fire and forever burning in hearts. But the truth is, as intense are the fires of young passion, so are dangers of inexperience in the hands of youth. Many of us do not have the needed toolset to manage and navigate the fierce heat of passion. Too often, we find our immaturity dousing the embers with self-inflicted mistakes, sucking out the oxygen, a critical ingredient for the fire to continue.
Love is like a campfire. A good one burns long and healthy, putting off the needed energy to cook a nourishing meal, providing warmth to cut the chill on a cold night, and offering an added layer security from threats or predators.
As for the newlyweds outside the hotel, I’m betting they are in a better position to navigate the unpredictable road of love. As I said, when you see the real thing, you know it.