"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Saturday, August 14, 2004
ded-i-ca-tion Function: noun
1 : an act or rite of dedicating to a divine being or to a sacred use
2 : self-sacrificing devotion
3 : the key ingredient in love and marriage
Tonight, we celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary. Well, the anniversary is really tomorrow, but then again since I'm up past midnight I guess its already tomorrow and we went out yesterday.
Anyway, we have a custom of going out every single Friday night. Lately that has been limited to a submarine sandwich or a taco, but tonight was a special night. Even so, try as I might, I could not come up with anything original.
We agreed we would go to the Steak and Ale, a chain that serves prime rib in a dark and cozy atmosphere. Neither one of us seemed happy at this, though, so I decided to take a quick look online before we left.
Five minutes later, I was looking at an ad for the Ipanema Grill. Cool. This place was a Brazilian "churrascaria." We had no idea what Brazilian food was like, which was plenty of reason to go to this place and off we went.
Once we were seated (and I think that the entire staff actually is Brazilian, or at least they frequent tanning bed establishments, and you gotta love those wonderful accents)we took a look at the menu. This was actually useless, since it only had two things on it other than drinks. One was "dinner." The other was "desserts." We decided to start with "dinner."
The server asked us if we had ever eaten there before. "No," we innocently replied. She explained to us that you could go help yourself to the salad bar, and there was a little red sign in the middle of your table. When you were ready, you would flip the sign over to the green side, and people would show up at your table with meats on spits fresh from the grill.
Amazingly, that is precisely what happened. We ate some salad, flipped the card, and here it came...kabobs, flank steaks, sirloin, beef ribs, pork loin, chicken, turkey, even pineapple. It was endless.
And it was really good too.
We finished up by ordering the "dessert" which came to our table in the form of a platter full of all kinds of goodness named "flan," "mousse," "cheesecake" and something I couldn't have pronounced immediately after she said it.
We'll definitely go back.
Eleven years. And we were together for ten years before that. That's almost half of my life. And a good half it's been.
So many couples don't make it that far. So I'll share the secret of longevity, a secret I learned from my grandparents who were happily married for sixty years.
There is a Brazilian dance called the Samba. The dance consists of a forward step, then a backwards step. The dance only works when each dancer is attuned to the other partner. As they make their way around the ballroom, there is a give and take, one way, then the other way, then back again. Maybe this time an embellishment of some sort, but always the same basic steps.
If you want to dance the Samba, you have to be able to do both the forward and backward steps.
In our marriages, we have to be dedicated to making sure the marriage works. Sometimes we get to move forward. Other times we take a backseat as the other partner does the same. In every step, we focus on our partner and devote ourselves each to the other.
And thus, from simple steps, we become part of a thing of great beauty that can survive the years.
In other words, love.
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance.