About once a week I take William a hamburger at East Side Hospital. He likes them simple, just the meat piled with onions. So on the way I stop at Burger King, or Wendy’s and get him supper. In fact he has got me on that kick also. I just add a little mustard with double onions, best hamburger in the world. Yes the KISS principle can be used in many areas of life, hamburgers included.
So being the mighty hunter I am, I got supper in no time, and got to the hospital. I went up to the second floor, and signed in. The nurse told me at the station, that she would go in and get William for me. As I was waiting I noticed two elderly women also come up and sit by the door that leads to the lock down unit. They were genteel looking, southern bells no doubt about it, treasures of the south. One was a neighbor, the other the wife. They have been living next to each other for 35 years, and I was told that they were closer than family. Extended families usually are and it was easy to see the comfort and ease they had in each others presence.
Soon a nurse was helping a man through the door, a big man, about 6 feet tall, still well built, and I guess like the ladies between 85 and 90 years old. At first I was worried that he would not recognize his wife, but he did, he reached out and gently took her hand, raised it to his lips and gave it a courtly kiss, filled with love, respect, and a quiet joy in seeing her. The friend beamed, happy to see them together again. Then they slowly bent over and gave each other a big kiss on the lips, again gentle, but filled with a gentle love, the kind that comes after years of being together. Then they quietly went over and sat down and just talked.
I was touched by the simplicity of what I had just seen. A faithful relationship lived out quietly with no fanfare, no noise, just something that is. The enduring, the strong seems that way, quiet, not causing much attention. I guess fanfare needs noise, something flashy going on that catches others attention, so that they can somehow live through what the fanfare is all about. Usually, it is not about anything that is deeply rooted in what is good and healthy, the opposite really. How we love sugar, the sweetness that only makes us hungrier, instead of giving anything substantial, lasting.
There is a lot of good in our culture, we just need to look closely around all the lights and glitter and noise, to see the many who live quiet lives, that truly build community, deeply rooted in the reality of what life is all about. Commitment is a big part of it.