I watched the crowd gather for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Lunneys. They are special friends. And clearly they are to many. As I observed the gathering of the many, I thought to myself what a half century of marriage, of living life together means and how it happens. The lessons from longstanding marriage are the lessons of living. Life is lived in relationship to others; what we apply to relationships is what we apply to living.
Relationships are about persistence, not perfection. Listen to people who have known and loved each other for a long time. They can speak neither about the other's quirks and foibles with judgment nor expectation of such things being corrected. They speak in glowing terms of positive traits and realistic terms of "flaws." Despite the ups and downs, they persist.
Relationships are not always about sweetness and light. Life is hard, complicated and gnarly. Strong relationships take on the challenges with as much energy as they do the good times.
Relationships are about realization, not expectation. Expectations can mutate into unachievable aspirations. Be realistic about one's self, one's friends, one's chosen partner and life.
I saw the relationships forged between all the people in attendance: Colleagues from historic NASA times, friends from active times of involvement with Friendswood's development, and the intermingling of friends, family and colleagues across a few generations. And I thought what a great view of life this event revealed. The entertainer pulled me from thought with his song.
*I see friends shaking hands..sayin' how do you do
They're really sayin'...I love you
That describes exactly what I witnessed. That is the day-to-day of living, as well as the expression for special times. Shake hands, touch, look in someone's eyes, ask how they're doing...and then listen. Forget the small talk for a minute and listen. Not every couple will stay married for 50 years. Not all friends will know each other for 50 years. Five decades, five years, five months or five minutes are held together by connections and caring..."how do you do?"
The singer finished the tune, but I kept watching.
*And I think to myself....what a wonderful world
*"What A Wonderful World" written by Robert Thiele and George David Weiss, and made famous by Louis Armstrong
Listen to Life is a free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com). Copyright 2010 Dion McInnis. All rights reserved.