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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Deeper Meaning of Love

            Summer vacation is a much anticipated tradition in my home.  My wife and I begin planning our one week adventure in January of each year usually by me asking “Where do you want to go?”  She will usually reply, “I don’t know, where do you want to go?”  I will say, “I don’t know.  Wherever you want to go.”  And she will respond, “It doesn’t matter to me.”  This gives me the information that I need and I set out in search of the unique vacation.  One year we went to the Outer Banks of the North Carolina coast and stopped off in Elizabeth City to see the nation’s oldest grapevine.  Then we went on to Kitty Hawk where they have the largest pile of sand on the East Coast.  From there we traveled to Ocracoke Island where we saw some “wild ponies” in a pen.  Then, back up to Kitty Hawk, where we saw the original reproduction model of the original Wright Brother’s second airplane.  Another year we went to Virginia where we toured Civil War battlefields.  We walked for miles in cactus fields with no shade. I thought we would top things off by going by the nation's oldest olive tree, which is just up the path from the natural bridge, which is a big rock with a hole carved in it with a river running through the hole.  They still talk about that vacation in hushed tones.  We traveled to Washington, D.C. one year where we finally got to see the original Wright Brother’s first airplane and I got to read a lifetime supply of monuments and plaques.
            Throughout all of these travels to all of these exotic places, we have stayed at some pretty nice hotels.  At one of them my son said “This room is nicer than that other room.  There’s no hole in the bathroom wall.”
            Now that my children are grown, I can see that the most important part of our vacations were not the things we saw or the places we stayed, but the fact that we were together in our journeys, sharing the moments, the laughter, the inconviences, the good times and the bad.  It is important as we go through life to have common experiences with people who love us.  These experiences contribute to our well-being and give us a sense of belonging; a sense of place.  Through shared experiences we discover who we are, how we fit in, and where we fit in.   
            I attended a funeral the other day.  Prior to the funeral the family received visitors.  As the visitors waited to speak to the family, a slide show was being shown on one wall of the room.  The slides held shared moments in time; of family meals, of births, of birthdays, of people acting silly, of babies crying, of first rides on bicycles, of family dogs running.  These are things we can easily take for granted when they happen, but looking back we cherish them like diamonds.  And when we think of the person who is gone, we will think of these things, and we will know who that person was, and what they meant to us.  And most of all, we will know the deeper meaning of love.

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