I saw old people today.
Not that they're some strange anomaly or something. But it's rare (here at least) to find two elderly people together, sitting on a bench, looking at the ocean on a 78 degree southern California day, and not stuck in a retirement home eating pudding underneath a TV hanging from the corner of a ceiling.
To watch a couple who have been together for so long just sit silently is the real life equivalent of magic - happening very slowly, blossoming and revealing itself only to those patient and deep enough to watch and listen.
You could pass them by. But watching them causes you to realize things about yourself. You become more aware of your life and what it's not only missing but what it could be...
An old man sitting next to his wife of 50 years is amazing. He's denied leaving her, pushed through hard times of money, pride, guilt, loss, and the pressures of divorce and infidelity. And he has stayed by her side for half a century. And the woman has tolerated his mindless fumbles, his bad habits, smelly laundry, her own physical transformations of children and growing up, and the pressures of divorce and infidelity as well.
They are the heroes of our time. And here they sat; quiet, unassuming, letting the world scream, fight, shoot, blast, and complicate itself on by. That's why when one of them dies, along with greiving, there is a new peace. Peace in knowing their soulmate is moving on to a better existence - somewhere they'll meet soon. Peace in knowing they've lived a full life, and a life with the one they love most in the world. And that is the holy grail we all seek every single day in our lives.
We work to make money. To be able to support ourselves. To move out. To find someone. We get dressed, wear makeup and cologne to attract a partner. We write to get noticed. Sing to be heard. We do to be seen. We feel to be felt. We live to find the best possible way to die. And this rare and sacred instance of two old people I never knew was not something to be glanced at, walked on or passed by. It was to be cherished from the concrete wall fifty feet away, left of the #13 lifeguard tower with my sunglasses on.
These are the moments you observe, watch carefully and absorb. Let the incredible luck of finding a glimpse of true love in its afterglow - and yet its quiet peak - soak in. And one day, hope you'll be there too.