The last few days of our life together as a couple and as individuals have been remarkable. There’s been a theme, of sorts. It’s centered on family, mostly, along with a few unique friendships.
Some of those friendships have been, until recently, little more than memories of the good ol’ days.
In the past week, those friendships have been resurrected. And the impact is remarkable – not just on the major players, but those of us who are watching from the sidelines.
My husband reconnected with three men that he hadn’t seen for over 30 years. I stood back and watched as they embraced one another with a unique affection and power, a masculine expression of love that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before. The words flowed back and forth, with inside jokes and nicknames flying, along with the occasional high five and fist bump. I saw a side of my husband that I’ve never known – through new eyes – in the way a few of his oldest friends appreciate and love him.
And then today I connected with a friend I’ve “known” for a few years – whom I’ve never met in person. We moved quickly toward one another in the parking lot and when we hugged, I didn’t want to let go. Words and pictures and videos and status updates and blog posts can go a long ways towards getting to know someone when authenticity is highly valued and expected – but only so far. At some point, you have to look into someone’s eyes and hug them and hold their hands and marvel at what almost feels like creation, right there in front of you.
It is, I guess; the creation of a reality, flesh and bones, life and substance.
Life and substance.
It’s been created on a daily basis during these travels. And deep in my soul, I know that it matters; that there is something important about this time that goes beyond a short vacation or a road trip.
Over pizza and beer today, one of my husband’s old friends talked about people who have moved on, those no longer with us. In the course of the conversation he mentioned – twice – a song by Paul Thorn. I didn’t know it; but now I do. And I won’t forget it.
Life and substance.
And we sleep well tonight, knowing that the list of things left undone – and people who deserve our attention – got a little shorter in these past two days.
When your life is over, you’re reaching the end
And the river of Jordan is around the bend
Will you be counting all the trophies you’ve won
Or will you look back on things left undone
When a stranger came knocking did you let him in
Was there food on your table for a down and out friend
Did you hide in the shadows, did you walk in the sun
Or do you regret the things left undone
Somebody you cared for broke your heart
You let foolish pride keep you apart
Why didn’t you learn how to forgive someone
So many years passed with things left undone