This I Believe

Rita - Jamestown, Rhode Island
Entered on April 7, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: love
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I believe that even in our complex world, some things are simple. Of course, we might need help realizing that. I know I did. If it weren’t for the clearheaded thinking of a five-year-old, I might have missed a major turn in my life. I might have driven right by.

Let me explain.

It started with a phone call.

“I need to see you tonight.”

Why the man I was dating insisted on traveling 30 miles to see me on a week night, I wasn’t sure. I’d worked all day and taught at a nearby university that evening. But the urgency in his voice unnerved me. So I agreed to see him.

He arrived with a worry that seemed to hang over our conversation. Something was up. As we slid into a booth at a nearby sports bar, I found myself chattering to fill in the silence.

Then in a flash, he pulled a tiny box from his pocket. He placed it gingerly on the table in front of me without saying a word. For a moment, I hesitated. I looked around, the basketball game blaring on the phalanx of television sets strategically placed throughout the room. I glanced down at the salsa spilled on my faded jeans and smiled. Sometimes life catches you by surprise.

I picked up the box and opened the lid. This was it. The moment that could last a lifetime. If only I’d say yes.

But how could I? The commitment to marry someone wasn’t that simple. In fact, nothing in my life was simple.

Disappointed by my silence, he drove me home. For the rest of that night, I dissected his proposal from every angle. Did I know him? Did I really know him? How could I trust in marriage again when it had failed me the first time? What would my family think? What would my friends say? Above all, what about my son?

For me, my little boy was the biggest question. What would he say? How would he feel?

From my purse, I pulled out the tiny box and showed my son the ring. The look of doubt on my face must have been wildly evident even to a five-year old.

“Mom, do you love him?”


“Then you should marry him.”

In one quick exchange, my son had literally brought me back to the heart of the matter. With the clarity that often seems to be the sole propriety of children, he reminded me that some things really are quite simple. Not nearly as complicated as we grownups tend to make them.

Do you love him?

This I believe: Even in a complex world, there are some things that are elemental. Primal, really. Love is like that. If you truly love someone, then all the rest will fall into place.

And it did.