I believe that I’m the luckiest man alive.
I didn’t overcome a near-fatal disease. I haven’t recovered from a horrible accident. I didn’t win the lottery or get dealt the winning hand at the World Series of Poker. I didn’t win a car for acing a par three in a golf tournament. I didn’t escape from a shark while surfing in the ocean, an anaconda while trekking in the Amazon, or a deadly spider in Australia. I didn’t make a wish and have it come true.
What I did was recognize a good woman 38 years ago and convince her to marry me.
It was, truly, love at first sight. I was standing in the street and she was in the passenger seat of a car being driven by a mutual friend. They stopped to say hello and when I saw her, I knew.
I knew because it was unlike any feeling I’d ever had. She smiled at me…and I knew. She went out with me…and I knew. She met me in Madrid for ten days…and I knew. She wrote to me when I returned to Ghana as a Peace Corps volunteer and she went back to art school in Michigan…and I knew. She knit me a sweater when I visited her in Japan…and I knew. She came to live with me in New York…and I knew.
Our parents didn’t know, because they lived in a world that couldn’t bridge the gap of our very different cultures. Her parents blamed my country for dropping atomic bombs on two of their cities. My parents blamed her country for attacking Pearl Harbor and siding with Hitler. Out of respect for our parents we lived together for eight years before we married. But throughout those years…I knew. And as my parents got to know and love her, they knew.
I knew that she had the most generous heart and soul of anyone I had and have ever known. I knew that she would make a wonderful mother. I knew that her art would continue to inspire me. I knew that her cooking would continue to nourish me. I knew that she would always know what was best and would always do the right thing.
I knew that if she practiced yoga and meditation, that I would feel better. I knew that if someone we knew needed assistance, she would be there for them, and so should I. I knew if our children had large dreams, she would encourage and promote them. I knew if we got sick, she would make us well with the plants and plums she turned into medicines. I knew if we got cold we would be warmed by the blankets and clothing she wove. I knew if we had guests for dinner she would serve them with the plates and bowls she made. I knew if we sought tranquility, we need only go to the flourishing garden she created.
I don’t know how I knew all this when I first looked into her eyes, but I knew. And 38 years later, as our children have grown into young adults and we have continued on our own creative paths, I still know. And this is what I know: that I’m the luckiest person on the face of the earth, because I have her. This I believe.
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