Geese are elegant, intelligent, loyal, majestic and creative. They soar through the sky with a sense of destiny and beauty. I recently captured this photo of them as I walked along the port area of Dublin city. I stood there as the sun rose, watching them fly together in a unity so incredible I held my breath.
So allow me to share some of the stunning things I have discovered about geese, that quite frankly distinguish them from lots of animals or birds we have; and to be honest, I found myself wanting to be a lot more like our feathered friend than I had ever imagined before…
Geese mate for life and will live a loyal life of faithfulness to one partner, even after their mate passes away.
A group of geese is called a gaggle – if they are flying they are known as a skein or wedge.
They choose to fly in a”V” shape so as to increase their flying power and range by at least 70%. By sharing the air space they make the flight easier for those flying with them. They look out for each other.
When the goose in front tires or grows weary another goose takes its place and then the tired goose moves back to rest, and into position to complete the formation.
While they are flying in formation they honk at each other to send encouagement to each other on the journey.
Geese care for each other; they look out for the other geese in their gaggle, to see if they are okay. If one gets sick, is attacked or hurt and drifts or falls from the formation, others will also leave the “V” shape and go to protect the injured goose. They stay with the sick goose until it recovers or dies. They will not leave it alone.
A young goose will find a mate for itself when it is only 3 years of age. If one of the pair dies the remaining goose will live many years without finding another mate. Most times the widowed goose lives the remainder of its life without a partner.
Male geese prefer to show very protective and kind behaviour towards the females in the group. They have been known to stand or fly between danger and the female in the situation; so beautiful and so courageous.
Geese choose to vocalize their messages to each other in a variety of ten different ways; it depends on the situation but they can stretch their necks or make loud honks in order to send a signal to others.
Geese live together and hatch a new gosling yearly, then both parents are involved in minding and taking care of the newborn.
The list goes on…
So…which characteristic was your favourite? Possibly, like me, you chose a few. One thing I found myself thinking as I read this list, is that I want to be more like geese. I want to love deeper, care for loved ones in a more devoted way. I want to be known as one who is faithful to the mate I choose for life. I want to go to rescue the hurting and stay with them until they can fly and join the group again. I want to be known as one who looks out for the dangers that are lurking and preying on my counterparts. I want to be so much more like a goose than I had ever thought of before…
If you feel the same then let’s honk and make the choice to stick together…
If my little thoughts today have inspired you then please give me a share and a like…every ‘honk’ lets me know that you are with me…and we are looking out for each other…
Some of you will remember my original story about that wonderful little book called, The Language of Flowers…a small quaint book, detailed in the most simple yet decorated hand painting. I first discovered this book while staying with a dear family in Atlanta, and when I first picked it up I knew it was not like any other book I had ever seen. It looked like one of a kind, a once off created manuscript, printed for one reader, for one love, for the eyes of one beholder. I felt privileged to even hold it.
I flicked though the front pages, and soon discovered that I was not far from the truth in my observations. It was indeed a very special little book. Before my eyes, were lots of hand drawings of flowers, names inserted in a calligraphy pen, and then lists and lists of flowers, and the reason one may give them to another. It grabbed my heart. How happy I was that it had been so nicely arranged where it was, so that some guest or family member may be warmed by its presence. Looking back now, it couldn’t have found a more loving or deserving home, than the one in which I discovered it.
Well this is my exciting sequel to that beautiful romantic story. Since I originally wrote about this book on Valentine’s Day, I thought another Valentine’s Day would be the perfect time to reveal some beautiful details about the author and this book.
After my previous story about this book, I received an incredible letter from Laurie (who’s mother was the object of love, for whom this precious book was written) Laurie is now custodian of the book, and wished me to know some more details about it…so please read on to learn of the gorgeous gems I was sent to share with you.
Thanks for your prompt reply. I will try to give you as much information as I have regarding the book, The Language of Flowers, and its history. The author was F.W.L (Frederik Lucas) a Jew who was my mother’s (Margaret Florence Jean Pickston) grandfather. I know little about his life although he was an artist of some standing and my mother says his work was in the Royal Academy of Art, but I cannot confirm that yet as it needs more research.
Now this book was never meant to be published and was written for his wife as a token of love, for I believe an anniversary (in 1913) or birthday from, ” Father to Mother”. How long it took him is not known but would assume some time as he secretly undertook his work every evening after his wife retired to bed. For years it lay in pieces in my Grandfather’s clothes drawer, gathering dust, until 1967/1968. My parents were at a party, when polite conversation turned to the little book, and by chance a gentleman overheard who worked for Micheal Joseph, the book publishers.
He explained he was most interested in seeing the book as Michael Joseph had not published a book like this before. So the book was sent to London and rebound/restored to its former glory, including its original handmade leather dust jacket. Then the first copy went to print on 10/10/1968, which also happened to be when I was born.
You will see numerous mistakes in the book such as paint brush marks on pages and written mistakes. A little known fact is that this book was entirely illustrated by paint brush, including all the meanings of the plants, with the exception being the forwarding poem to mother. I am not sure if the book is still in print as Penguin books have taken over and produced a run a few years back to send to every library in the U.S.A. I hope this long letter builds a picture in your mind about what I call “the little book” AKA The Language of Flowers.
I am sure when this loving gentleman worked secretly on this labour of love for his wife, that he had no idea just how very loved it would be, by his wife and so many others. Today, may you find a labour of love to embrace, and make it your absolute passion to share it with the world. Someday I hope to make it to London and hold the original in my hands, so watch out for part three to The language of Flowers saga.
My richest gain I count but loss…these words swirl around my heart today…all the vain things that charm me most… I sacrifice!
WOW! Today, the day when darkness gripped the world at the exact moment a man on a Cross exasperated his seemingly last breath. He gave His all, His very life, for a world that scarcely appreciated His great gift. As darkness fell, so the tears of a mother who watched her son die, fell to the ground. Those that loved Him stood in silent grief and dismay. Little did they know that while darkness engulfed their grief-stricken hearts, behind the scenes God was working His amazing brilliance and preparing the greatest story ever told. Jesus, in His last moments on the Cross, uttered words of pain and anguish. He questioned why His Father had abandoned Him. He felt separation from God for the very first time. He did this so that we need never experience that separation ever again,
They thought it was the end of everything, every hope, every promise, and every word He spoke to them. They bowed their heads in sorrow, but God was about to roll up His sleeves and astronomically reveal the grandeur of His great love for us. Time stood still, but not Jesus. He was busy disarming the powers of darkness and getting ready to reveal who He said He was.
Then He came back… He demonstrated His awesome love for us on the Cross. He stayed there because of love… If you don’t know His great love for you, I hope that this Easter, you will open your heart to really say yes to His invitation to know Him…and to experience His incredible new life in you.
When Jesus died He screamed though nail-pierced hands “I Will Be Back!”, to a lost and confused world. We can barely comprehend this amazing love, for we have no other love to compare it to. He did come back, and all He said is true.
Do you know Him?
Right now He waits for you to just believe…and everything will change.
He whispers softly yet triumphantly to you: ‘I love you with an everlasting love…simply believe. I came back for you!”
Today I want to introduce a new writer on the block, and in the theme of love and romance it seems only right that he share a beautiful love story with you… Take it away Andy! It is a pleasure to have you write your first (of many) blogs on my watch. Denise
“Is This Love?”
by Andy Patton
“Is This Love?” If you are anything like me or grew up in the 80s, when you read those words your mind was instantly transported back to the year 1987, and you began to hum the tune to that classic ballad by Whitesnake.
When I first saw her it wasn’t love… or was it? When I first talked to her it wasn’t love… well maybe it was… no it definitely wasn’t. I know it wasn’t, because I couldn’t understand most of what she said! Not because she was soft spoken, shy or timid. In fact, just the opposite. Honestly, it was her thick Dublin accent that held me at bay and forced me to nod, smile and pathetically attempt to piece together the few words I did understand.
She was full of life and it manifested itself in the fast paced manner in which she bounded into conversation. It flowed from her lips with such ease and joy. She welcomed the opportunity to share her delight and vigor for life with any who would engage her. Desiring to express her glee with life, her conversation seemed to gain speed the more she talked!
That morning she had gathered with several ladies for their customarily tea and talk, and I stumbled into the kitchen looking for a bucket and sponge. Being a 20 – something young man of course she captured my eye, but I fought desperately not to ogle. I do believe I eeked out a disastrously awkward “good morning” greeting as I hurried to disappear. All the while, it was her carefree poise that silently screamed at my heart.
Was there any doubt I was an American in Dublin? Could she tell that I was from a far distant mysterious place called New England? Could she know without me saying a word that I was instantly drawn to her?
I hoped so….
As the next week unfolded, I found myself more and more in her company. Each time I felt a bit bolder to interact with her. Now mind you, I wasn’t intimidated, but excited to hear what new adventures or experiences life had brought her since we last chatted. Okay maybe I was smitten. Her brown eyes sparkled and her smile was intoxicating. But at least, I could now grasp most of the conversation. Either I had honed my listening skills or she had slowed down her talking speed, or maybe a combination of both. At any rate I was enjoying every second of it.
Is this Love? Well maybe the start of it, for me at least. What I had discovered was all that I had encountered, all that I had been privileged to experience during my times with her, it wasn’t special to her, it was normal. She was just being her! I realized the interaction I had with her was the connection that everyone had with her. Not because of them and their efforts, but hers. She loved people of all shapes, sizes and colors. She just simply loved being around and involved in the lives of the people she came in contact with, anywhere and any time. That is what I loved first about her. Love is a two way street and are these two people, moving in opposite directions, willing to step off the sidewalk? After all it had only been a week!
Are you serious? Come on! Could that have really happened? I must have been dreaming! Was I? For more than a week I had been chatting off and on with this wonderful young woman, and she had captivated me with her zest for life. She cherished each moment of each day and that trickled down to anyone she spoke to, myself included.
We had spent lunches in cafés with friends, bowling events with fellow team members and site-seeing tours around various attractions in the city. Our conversations were centered on our cultures, young adult life in our respective countries and our families. I was staying with a host family outside the city center, which required me to catch a bus each evening.
My routine was to hop on and make my way upstairs to the top deck so I could take in the sights from a better vantage point. From there I could witness the bustling streets filled with pedestrians, cyclists and peddlers, I was enamored with it all.
Most journeys my mind retraced my steps of the day, and many of them guided me back to my daily communiqué with the energetic, inspiring woman I was growing so fond of. I found myself wanting to extend our get-togethers in order to spend more time getting to know her. Talking with her was effortless and time seemed to stand still when I was around her.
One evening early on in my summer long adventure, I was actively engaging life with my host family. Our talks ranged from me trying to fit into their culture, to learning the slang vocabulary and decoding their accents. I figured the more I talked with them the easier it would be to understand the people I would meet during my travels in town each day… after all it was English they were speaking so I just needed to listen more than I talked.
On that memorable night my I learned more about their family than I could have imagined. First of all they had five kids… Up until that point I had only known the two youngest. The older three were moved out of the house. The two older sons were living in England and their oldest lived in the city with a couple of roommates. As I shared my family dynamic of having three older sisters and no brothers, they related that their family makeup was just the reverse. There was one girl and four brothers. I was the youngest and their daughter was the oldest. I remember thinking I haven’t even seen family photos around the house to tip me off to how many children they actually had.
They told me all about the their kids as they were growing up and we laughed at similar stories of childhood. Then they pulled out a few photos to introduce me to the three older kids I had not yet met, obviously the two older boys were out of country so they didn’t see them much. Their daughter had not come by to visit, at least when I was there. As they showed me pictures of her when she was little and progressively through her younger years.
She looked familiar, so familiar I felt as though I knew her. Then came one photo that had been taken a few months prior to me arriving. To my amazement…it was her! The girl that so captured my near every thought, the girl that sauntered into my life nearly two weeks ago. I was living in her old bedroom and eating evening meals and enjoying laughter filled chats with her dad and mom!
To be continued…
More of this wonderful story soon so stay tuned… Andy
To love; is it the desire of the weak, or is it a characteristic of the strong? Or is it both? Well I say love makes you strong, love armours you with resilience and persistence when all around you seems to be a battleground. Find something or someone you love and suddenly a hard quest or a seemingly insurmountable obstacle is seen as a challenge to overcome at all cost. Love; it makes weak men rise up and do things they never thought they could do, or desire to do. It makes damsels smile with pride and respect for the man who is willing to prove his love to her. It makes lovebirds sing and creation burst with colour. Love; they say it makes the world go round! What do you say it is?
Depending on what you believe love to be, will determine how you love. How you love others is the very oil of friendship, courtship, family life and relationship. Upon love, hangs every other action, deed, desire, hunger, thirst and accomplishment. You will endeavour to do great things for someone or something you love. Yes you will do many things for less than love, but in the end you will still do something because you love what you do or you love the one you are doing it for. Many have done a difficult or unloved task, simply for the joy they see on the face of the loved-one it is accomplished for. What a motivator love is.
So today, in defense of love, I say LOVE in such a way that the world takes note, sits up and recognizes a different kind of love they have not beheld before. Love dangerously; in such a way as to walk where there is risk, where there could be pain or gain. Love extravagantly; count nothing as too much to endure. Leave nothing unsaid, unknown or unspoken. Love valiantly; whether it is returned, received, appreciated, applauded, or sought for ~ choose to love with honesty!
The world needs love – we see it in the love God has displayed towards an uncaring world. Yet we did not love Him, He chose to love us. To love someone who loves you back is easy to do, depending on how genuine your love is. But to love those who do not want your love nor see any value in it, is a task only the strong can do. If you know you are loved by a Greater Love, a source far more magnificent than any human love, then you can give love knowing He has you covered, protected and guarded. To love with unconditional love, is truly a love that loves in all weather, all conditions and all challenges.
Today I defend love. I believe it holds some of the most extraordinarily mysterious qualities I have ever known. Love heals and hurts; Love makes one sad and happy; Love lifts you up and can let you down; Love fills you up or leaves you empty. Love is truly one of the most incredible gifts we can bestow upon another soul.
Today someone is watching how you love, choose wisely and graciously. Today a friend desperately needs someone to prove to them that love carries weight and a legend all of its own! Today how you love makes a difference to the hurting around you. No matter how you perceive or have experienced love to be, you can still choose to defend it based on what you believe love should be. You are the only one who can determine what kind of ‘lover’ you will be!
LOVE; Guard it, treasure it, redeem it, communicate it, risk it, prove it, speak it, display it, fight for it, embrace it, protect it, safeguard it, live for it, die for it, celebrate it, validate it, cherish it, define it, sacrifice for it, heal with it. Do it! It is those who love, that know how to decorate their own soul, grow their own garden and appreciate the art of loving. Loving is an art, but that artist lives in each one of us waiting to be displayed in your own sweet beautiful way!
Live in defense of love! Love heals! ღ
Somebody is waiting to be loved the way you love, so Love Out Loud! ღ
Quite a few years ago, as I was completing my R.T. and I.A.C.T. training to qualify as a counselor, I remember a remarkable story being told by one of my lecturers about a “word of mouth” story she had heard a few years previous herself. Just this week it resounded in my heart and I thought I would share it. At the time we were discussing the different types of people one can meet in this colourful world of ours and the many people we met as counselors. We greatly desired to show unconditional love and warm support to the hurting but also wanted to become better ‘lovers’ of people and help them through their pain. That particular day my lecturer asked the class the following profound question; “Are you a strawberry or a slug?” ~ Those in the room all looked at each other in amusement and became intrigued by her question.. .. .. Many times since that day I have remembered our answers and our descriptions of these two “personality types”. Do you love strawberries? When in season they can be the most luscious of fruits and are remarkably good for the body too. I love the sweet ones, but I absolutely struggle to eat them if they are slightly bitter or too acidic; my facial expressions completely change when trying to swallow a strawberry that is not sweet!
These are some of the nutritional facts about strawberries; Delicious and nutrition-rich red coloured strawberries are among the most popular berries in every country. They are native to Europe, however, nowadays the berries are widely cultivated as an important commercial crop in many temperate regions all over the world. Botanically, the plant is a runner (creeper); and belongs to the family of Rosaceae, of the genus: Fragaria. They were once seen as an exotic fruit, and when out of season can be quite expensive to purchase, but most would feel they are worth the extra financial sacrifice. These berries have a taste that varies according to origin, and they can range from quite sweet to acidic. The strawberry features a red pulp with tiny yellow coloured seeds piercing through its surface from the inside. Their top end has a small, green leafy cap and a stem that adorns the crown. Each strawberry features a conical shape, weighs about 25g and measures about 3cm in diameter. There, I guess you probably have never thought about a strawberry in such intricate detail? They are delicious when served alongside the right dessert or dipped in luscious melted dark chocolate, ice cream or fresh cream. Wild varieties are sometimes available at your local farmer’s market, and are quite delectable!
The strawberry is low in calories (32 kcal/100g) and fats, but are a rich source of many health promoting nutrients, minerals and vitamins essential for maintaining optimum health. They are considered a power food and have potential health benefits in fighting cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases. Fresh berries are an excellent source of vitamin-C (about 98% of RDI), which is also a powerful natural antioxidant, and a vital component in helping the body to digest and use its iron intake. See, strawberries really should not be lived without; their presence is beyond brilliant and so valuable to our health. (even the acidic ones – note to self!)
“Doubtless God could have made a better berry (than the strawberry), but doubtless God never did.” ~ William Allen Butler
So are you a strawberry or a slug? A “giver” or a “taker” type of person?
A “strawberry” person adds a certain kind of precious sweetness to your life. When you meet them they are a joy to be around and seem to add to the atmosphere in a colourful and creative way. They want to give more than they take, and there is a sense of kindness about the things they do. They aren’t perfect in all they do, but even in failing or falling they bounce back with a sweet endeavour to improve and grow in their love towards others. Strawberries are lovely, charming and their smile lights up the room. Like the fruit, these “strawberry’ people are greatly pleasing and quite delightful to behold, or have in your life. They are naturally good at drawing out the best in you, the strengths in you, the dreams in you. They have a natural, genuine and tenacious ability to treat you like you are worth a million dollars and invaluable in the contributions you can bring to this world. While they still have their own needs and can share the deepest chambers of their heart with you, there never ceases to be an unconditional positive regard about them. They strive to maintain a sweet unity in pursuing life’s dreams together. These “strawberry” people are rare and unforgettable, yet it is a beautiful compliment that all of us can aim to cultivate these traits in our own lives. They make you feel like you can conquer any mountain, all of your fears, every doubt and achieve your deepest aspirations. To them life is all about mutual giving, and we know that it is more of a blessing to give than receive; indeed in giving we receive a hundredfold back in benefits and love. In serving others as “strawberry” people, we can be sure that when we leave this earth people will remember us with fondness, love, appreciation and delight. I want my epitaph to say “She was a strawberry!” ~ =)
“Strawberry” people are not perfect, as that is just not realistic, but ‘sorry’ is not a word they are afraid to use, and they seek to maintain peaceful harmony as much as possible.
We all know the “slugs” ~ they are usually people who are hurting or angry; and may not be aware their pain causes them to rob from you, steal your peace or remove your joy. They can be quite pessimistic or negative, and life around them is not always easy. They don’t bring health to your bones, and instead can be quite a challenge to walk the road alongside. But if you are a “strawberry” person, then you can help the “slug” person realise the better choices they can make. These “slug” people are usually the kind of ones who have no idea who they are, or how very valuable and precious they are. They cannot see their unique gifts or the beauty that is within them. Many of these types of people take and take from you, demanding more and more time, with very little regard or appreciation. It is quite sad, but usually their world revolves around their comfort and their own needs. We all know some people who are “slugs”, but if you fancy yourself to be a “strawberry” then why not try to help this person make the changes they need to. Of course we cannot change anybody else in this world but ourselves, but we can still choose to be sweet “strawberries” in a world that is growing more and more bereft of what true unconditional love and kindness is.. .. ..
We all have our “slug” days, but let’s at least try to be “strawberries”. =)
“Slugs” are destroyers of all that is sweet, yes it is the way they survive, but most of the time these sad and angry ones desperately want to be free to love without any fear, and give without any limit. “Strawberries” can help ~ by being sweet in the face of those who do not appreciate you; I know it is not easy, and being taken for granted is hard to take day in and day out ~ but there will be a sweet sense of peace in your heart as you lay your head on your pillow at night. There will also be health to your life, knowing that you are not caught up in anxiety and hatred. We all have the potential to be “slugs” ~ never seeing any beauty in the simple things around us ~ never taking the time to love others and really know them; but when the love of God and His unconditional acceptance penetrates our hearts and lives, we are changed. We realise that the love we give away to others is not ours anyway, that only for Him in our lives we would never know the real capacity to selflessly reach out to lift others up. I heard a phrase the other day that saddened me ~ It went like this;
“The less you say, the more people will listen!”
I pondered those words, and remarked to myself how so true it is at time, and how sad it is that our communities are becoming like this. When there is a deep need in a heart to be understood and cared for, the one depended upon may feel overwhelmed and choose to turn away. Do we truly only seek out those who have few needs and therefore avoid giving beyond our own comfort zone? Yes boundaries are healthy, but still we maintain the bond of love and peace as much as we can. It is a good question and I am not saying I have arrived there – some days I wish I were more of a “strawberry”, but I know that seeking to duplicate the sweetness of a strawberry in my personality, makes me a far nicer person to be around, even for me to be around too!
So the next time you sink your teeth into a sweet, ripe, delicious strawberry, stop and think about the incredible potential in you to be more pleasing, loving, graceful, understanding, patient, kind and tasteful in your world.
There are always far more reasons to give back then to hoard and take just for yourself ~ hearts that feel like “slugs” are waiting for the “strawberry” people to show them a better way, a far sweeter way.
Love is not a weakness, it demands the truest form of strength at times ~ It’s a commendable trait and distinguishes you in quite a remarkable and “sweet strawberry” way!
Hi everyone ~ I just found out that the following short story I wrote has won a prize in the open category of this year’s Creative Writing & Cultural Studies SCC short story competition in Inchicore College. I have been invited to a formal prize giving ceremony in the Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square on Thursday 3rd May. How exciting! I just thought I would share my story now that it has been announced.=) Denise
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Written by Denise Kennedy❤ღೋ ೋღ❤
It was a beautiful sunny Irish day…and I witnessed a very touching scene. They say that it is the journey that matters more than the destination. They also remind us that we should squeeze all the value, meaning and adventure out of the ordinary, and mundane activities of life that we can. I am inclined most surely to agree, for having come across some of the most beautiful surprises on very ordinary days, I could have certainly missed them had I not been willing to recognise them. This was one of those seemingly ordinary days, where I was allowed one of those lovely treasures.
Let me explain; I had decided to take a trip to the country.
I craved some clean air in my nostrils and a fresh green field to walk in, where all I could hear were horses neighing nearby and the bleating of the farmer’s sheep as he herded them in for feeding time, and the beautiful sound of the wild deer as they called to each other in the evening light. I needed to get out of Dublin city for some rest and relaxation.
So I packed my bag and jumped on a bus destined for green fields, deer trodden rural lane ways and fresh babbling brooks. Yes the beautiful county of Kildare.
I had only been a few minutes on the bus, and soon I found myself finally unwinding and starting to relax. I was ready to enjoy a long bus trip through the countryside and away from the busy traffic of Dublin city. I leaned my head against the window frame, on the very back seat of a double-decker bus, enveloped in lovely warm sunshine and drifted away in relaxation and escape.
Just then a commotion startled me from my peacefulness; an elderly couple made their way on to the bus and approached where I was sitting. I didn’t really feel like being surrounded by others at that particular moment, I was craving isolation and silence, but they both sat carefully on the two seats directly across from me. There was something playful or mischievous about them.
Although I had my sunglasses on, they still somehow managed to make eye contact with me and we exchanged pleasantries and smiles. Pretty soon after they had made themselves comfortable, a nearby passenger stood up to leave his seat at the far end of the back row, to get off at the next stop. Suddenly the elderly lady opposite me, hopped up from her seat and sat nearer to me but now she was also sitting on the back row. There was plenty of room either side of her, which she seemed grateful for, as she gave a deep relaxing sigh and stretched a little.
She smiled over at her husband and then lifted her grey tight-clad short little legs up to rest on the material covered vacant seat opposite her.
She glanced again at her husband, who smiled warmly at her as he kindly said, “Your legs are too short honey.”…To which she replied, “Oh I know love, but I still like to do this, it helps my circulation.” He chuckled at her with fond amusement.
I then found my gaze again out the window, and thought of the many elderly folk I have heard ‘tut tut’ at the younger teenagers for doing exactly the same as this adorable elderly lady had…somehow the not so polite behaviour was more easily accepted as it was a sweet older lady who just seemed to want to relax her tired legs. Her years gave her a well deserved right it seemed. I am being honest when I say I may have frowned a little on the position of her shoes on the seat had she been much younger. Instead I lost myself in the thought of her looking to her husband for his accepting smile across the empty seats that divided them, but only in measure, for although I had only been in their presence a few short minutes, I could already tell that there was a bond between them that I doubt anything could weaken.
Shortly after her excited move to the back seat, which positioned her facing the opposite way to that of her husband, she giggled towards him and said ”Oh anyway I like facing this direction because then I can see what’s ahead, I like to see where I’m going. I would much rather look that way rather than where I have been.” and she smiled at him.
He then adjusted his gaze towards the rear window which stretched along the back of the seats his wife and I both sat on – Then glancing back towards his wife he said ”Oh you know my dear, I like to look at where I have already been…I like to look at the past.” At that point she chuckled at him and then she looked at me. Maybe she wondered if I knew what he meant or was I even listening. I hid a smile as I looked again out the window beside me, as trees and sheep covered fields rushed past me in the glorious sunshine. Little did they know that my thoughts remained firmly on what this dear pensioner had just said to his darling wife.
What an interesting response he gave her. This couple, who had interrupted my quietness just moments earlier, had now also gracefully interrupted my thoughts, with remarkable ideas of their own. They intrigued me slightly, with their interesting ‘doors’ of life. I was grateful already for their presence.
When I looked at them, I was reminded of the fact that some people do actually love each other forever. I wanted to know their story. I wondered what circumstances had led them to this very moment in time, that they should hold such interesting and different opinions on life. They both were comfortable in their unique viewpoint of the past and the present. He liked looking through the door that showed him the years gone by, and she wanted to stare ahead, through the door that revealed the future. The other interesting fact to me is; that they were quite at ease to discuss it even in the presence of a fellow traveler whom they did not know. That revealed to me how very secure they both were.
Just then I noticed that she seemed to be making gestures to him to come and sit beside her. The romantic girl in me imagined she wanted him to hold her hand and chat for the rest of their journey. He motioned a gentle no with his head, he was quite content where he was, it would seem. His declaration that he likes to look at where he has been was a surprise to me. I tried to understand what it said about these two pensioners, and their different focus points. She was happy to look ahead at what was to come, and welcome it with her feet comfortably perched on the bus seat in front of her. Maybe she feared nothing, or loved the thrill of the adventure ahead. Possibly she had grown up with a skip in her step and a hunger to jump spontaneously into what ever dream life gave her next. While on the other hand, or other seat it would appear, her partner for life preferred to look through the rear view window and what he left behind.
Part of me felt sad for him, just a little. I wanted to tell him not to fear the future, but quite honestly he looked so happy and peaceful, that I think his love for the past was sincerely built upon the wonderful memories he had left there. Quite possibly, his reason for not looking ahead was because he loved the element of surprise that unexpected things would bring into his life. Anyway, his wife had him covered. She was looking out for both of them. Some people firmly close the door to their past, feeling quite relieved to leave all it holds safely behind, making the future their primary focus; but not this quietly assured gentleman.
I decided, that she must be the one who plans ahead, while he possibly holds on tightly to the experiences of the years gone past. She may be the one who longs for new ground and new shoes, and new places to see, throwing all caution to the wind and not worrying about the time that is already spent.
At this point I could no longer delay my own reflection,
“Which one am I?”
Unknown to them, they had really turned a quiet bus journey into a thoughtful evaluation process of my own life. I decided that I resemble both of them…I cherish the memories that are behind me, that have made me the person I am today. I truly value the amazing people that I have been able to share my past and my present with. Suddenly tears started to fill my eyes. As I blinked them back to where they came from, I was grateful to be hidden behind my sunglasses.
I also thought about the strengths in my heart, that have motivated me to push forward into the future, to always be ready to plan new adventures and see new places. I tend to be spontaneous but also quite a cautious dreamer.
I had a mental image of one of my hands reaching lovingly back into the past and desperately wanting to take all the people I cherish and memories I have made, with me into my future…while at the same time my other hand grabs the next moment the future gives me, deciding to jump to the next page or pursue a new dream with all of my heart. I guess these days I am somewhere between the past, the present and the promised.
The delightful thought comes and wraps itself around me, to remind me that heaven knows the seasons I am in and that there is a God who travels with me through yesterday and into the days that await my footsteps. There are so many open doors yet to be walked through, some will be amazing and some will be difficult. But that is the beauty of the unexpected, it makes us who we are.
Could it be, that the reason this adorable couple, could take a bus journey together, yet comfortably sit a few seat cushions apart, was probably because they knew where they had been, and also where they were going. He had her back covered while she was looking ahead. He was delightfully safe knowing she was already thinking about tomorrow, and the future and what it would bring them. This may not seem like the usual male/female role, but like any relationship and marriage, we all bring our unique perspectives and strengths with us to compliment the other person. He sat there looking behind, cherishing every detail, while she sat there smiling, looking ahead.
And again, I found myself a million miles away, lost in my thoughts, gazing out the window, remembering all that had touched my heart until now, and all that the unknown future had yet to reveal.
Moments later, it was my stop and time for me to leave the back row of the bus. I was reluctant to go. I wanted to stay there and spend more time just in the presence of this remarkably interesting couple, but leave I must. I smiled again towards them as I moved past, and they graciously did the same. I felt like I knew them. Even now as I write this, I wonder where they are.
As I walked away from the edge of the road, and the bus drove out of sight, I wondered did they move seats? The romantic heart in me imagined them now sitting closely next to each other, holding hands and on the same side. Probably they now sat where I had been sitting, with their silver hair shining in the sunlight, and both of them looking in the same direction. Or maybe he stayed where he was, but she moved to sit where I had been. I imagined them gazing lovingly into each others’ eyes, yet comfortably facing the direction they felt the safest in. They allowed each other the freedom of vision and focus, yet they shared a strong bond of companionship and trust.
There are many doors in life, some lead us to amazing white knuckle adventures, where our adrenaline is flowing and life is exciting. For others, the doors are slower to open, and it seems a struggle to see the path ahead. There are some doors I wish I had never opened, while ahead I see unopened doors that invite me to take a chance. Maybe the best viewpoint is to open the doors that are the right ones for you, based on what you believe to be true at that moment in time. That decision is really up to you.
So back to my travel companions – Which direction do you think they sat facing? I guess it really doesn’t matter which seat they now sat on, for one thing is certain, their hearts were most assuredly united, and already on the same side.