I was not aware of the exact time, nor can I be positively sure as to the day of the week; I can however assure you that the event which would follow in the next few minutes has been indelibly etched upon my faltering mental systems. I may not recall where I filed it but when I do rediscover it, it will stand out from most of the files associated with and included among the small number of such memorable events because the depth of the impression will appear so much deeper than any of the others.
We carried our own cups of freshly poured, piping hot coffee outside and sat down where we normally would around the glass-topped patio table. The retractable awning had been deployed all night long, preventing any possible dew from settling on the afore mentioned table or the chair cushions.
The sun had not yet peeped over the tree line in the distance or the horizon thousands of miles beyond that. It was pre-dawn but there was plenty of ambient light surrounding us.
Maureen lit up a cigarette, drew from it deeply, inhaled and exhaled the smoke into the slight breeze, which thankfully flowed in a direction away from myself. I don't try to get her to stop the harmful habit. She didn't treat me that way back when I was still smoking. I'm the same way about that as I have been with my own personal beliefs. I've been a Christian for 24 years now. She knows and accepts that fact. That's enough for me. I can only hope that she has been paying attention to how I've lived my life since then and that one day, she too will desire to ask Christ into her life as He wills it. I've convinced myself that He will deal with her directly in His own good time...not mine.
The coffee tasted wonderful. That first cup is so special. It has a purpose and it does it well. Slowly, we are becoming fully awake and aware of our surroundings. Few words are exchanged between us. We can hear one another taking deep breaths and enjoying the pure elation of simply being alive at such a time as this.
It was a beautiful spring day, all around us was the grandeur of God's creation. The sights, the sounds, the fragrances; surely it doesn't get any better than this was the thought that lingered in my own mind.
Then, suddenly, the faint glowing orange rim of the rising sun appeared in the eastern sky. Both of us had noticed and remained silent because we didn't want to miss one tiny bit of the experience. Her voice was first to break the silence.
"During most of my working life, whenever I tried to imagine what it would be like to be retired; this is exactly how I imagined it would be."
I can't begin to explain how I felt at that moment. I can only say that I was somewhere beyond "Happy."
I pursued happiness just like our constitution assured me that I had the right to do. I pursued it until it caught up with me one day when I least expected it.
Maureen's words impacted me with the force of a sledgehammer striking a soft, lead plate. It left a circular crater with a raised rim. Truth rushed in and filled the sudden void the blow had caused and I sat back, relaxed and realized that at that moment in time, my world was a giant step closer to completeness.
That's all I've ever asked from life. To know that in some small way, I had contributed to the reaching of a life-long goal of someone I've loved more than myself for all these years.
As the sun continued to climb in the eastern sky, I turned to gaze upon my sweet bride and realized that she was now being bathed in the shining light of our golden years together.
Sounds Like Summer
2 weeks ago