Sometimes special people come into our lives and we “miss” them the first time around. Maybe it’s because we’re inattentive or preoccupied with other people or things in our life. Perhaps the timing’s just not right. Maybe we’re already in a relationship or are just coming out of one and aren’t quite ready to jump right back into another. Maybe we’re not in a place where we’re willing or able to give or receive love or make the commitment “that kind of a relationship” requires. Regardless of the reason, the end result is almost always the same: an opportunity lost – often, regrettably, forever. But, every now and then, we get a second chance. Once in awhile that special someone that we drove or allowed to get away returns and something magical occurs . . .
A Wedding Toast For Greg and Emma (Father of the Groom)
I like to walk at a park near our house. It’s a fairly chaotic place. There are children screaming at their parents in the playground area, parents screaming at their children on the soccer and little league fields, coaches screaming at anyone who will listen to them, teenagers screaming at each other on the pick-up basketball courts and cars racing in and out of the parking lot like they’re on their way to a house fire. In short, it’s not a lot different than the world we all live in! Maybe that’s why what I saw in the midst of that insanity a few weeks ago struck me the way that it did. It was a sight I’m sure I’ve seen a thousand times before, but never fully appreciated.
It was a young mother, standing on the fringes of that loud and congested parking lot, tenderly holding her nearly newborn infant close against her chest. That was it! “It” was the purest, most simplistic, most powerful and most beautiful expression of unconditional love I may have ever seen. “It” didn’t require any words; in fact one of the two was utterly incapable of communicating with words. “It” also didn’t require any action – save for the delicate way “mom” was cradling her child and her willingness to allow her chest to serve as a pillow for a moment’s rest. And yet, there is no doubt in my mind that as their hearts beat together, mom and infant child were fully engaged in unconditionally loving and accepting love from each other.
It’s the way all true love begins, the way love is intended to be and the way I know that Greg and Emma’s love for each other began nearly 7 years ago to this day. Regrettably, very few of us are wise enough to understand that it’s meant to be that simple, particularly when we’re young and relatively new to the whole idea of love. Instead, often without realizing what we’re doing or intending any harm, we start to pile a bunch of “life stuff” on top of it. We over think it, we unnecessarily complicate it, we take it for granted or, worse yet, we try to change it to make it look and feel different (usually the way we think it should look and feel to suit our own selfish needs and desires) – and, more often than not, in the process, we lose it.
But every now and then, if we’re lucky (some would say blessed), we get a second chance – a “love mulligan,” if you will. Something tells us to stay in touch. We grow up, become more mature, we meet others, we have life experiences, and we share them, openly and honestly with one another. Over time, we come to realize that the person on the other end of the phone is someone we can trust implicitly, that they know, understand and accept us for who we are, that there is a comfort level there that is unlike any other we have ever known. And then one June afternoon, we meet again – in a parking lot of all places – and, like that young mother and her infant, our hearts realize, without our having to say a word, that we’re back where we belong – in each other’s arms.
Greg and Emma, today we celebrate the fact that the two of you found your way back to each other and to the simple, but importantly unconditional love reflected by that young mother and her infant child in the parking lot. I encourage you both to allow that love to take up residence in your souls and to constantly search for new ways to communicate it to one another – and to all who you hold dear. It is a significant challenge, but one I’m confident both of you are equipped to meet. I know I speak for all of us in letting you know that we will be there to support you in those efforts in any way we can. Emma, we couldn’t possibly be happier for you and Greg or more grateful that you (and your family) are now part of ours.