Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Young Love - originally written July 2018

Young Love - 7/1/2018

I adapt my summer fitness schedule on weight training days by arriving at the gym early to beat all the high school and college kids that pour in later.  There’s a calming peacefulness in sharing gym space with a quiet group of folks seriously dedicated to maintaining their health.  This summer, a young couple have caught my eye -- not due to any trendy tight fitting outfits or the rigorousness nature of their workout.  I’ve decided these two kids are so in love.  They walk around in tandem, slowly trading turns and hardly ever do they break their mutual gaze.  Scientists explain that intense eye contact with the opposite sex produces a cocktail of chemicals that coincide with falling in love.  Some say the whole process is almost addictive once you make that intimate connection.  So, these two, both short in stature, which accentuated their “kid” look, go from machine to machine rarely speaking -- Just gazing into each other’s eyes with an occasional shoulder touch as they trade places. 
I continue my work out, happy to observe this moment in time, wondering where the path these two are on will lead.  The experience caused a flash back to one of my first classes in college.  I was sitting in Freshman Biology in this enormous auditorium waiting for class to begin when this long lanky girl made her way down my row.  I glanced over once and then continued my discussion with a friend seated to my left.  The girl then sat in the seat to my immediate right and I was introduced to her by my friend.  She’d gone to my high school, but we’d never met.  But when I turned to address her, I was hit with these enormous brown eyes and was momentarily speechless.  As our eyes met, I’d be willing to bet that those chemicals I mentioned were free flowing in both of us.  Love at first sight?  Maybe, but I always label it infatuation until those feelings become mutual. 
In the ensuing months that girl and I spent most every waking hour together, and it really didn’t matter what we were doing.  Eating a burger in my Chevy, dissecting a fetal pig in Bio lab, or talking on the phone (landline of course) after a date until one of us fell asleep.  My whole life revolved around finishing my studies or work, just so I could once again stare into those eyes.  And it was mutual.
Before my son’s marriage a few years ago I mentioned how he and the “bride to be” seemed so in love.  My then wife’s comment? “Yes, but that’s just young love”. It was one of many worrisome comments I kept shoving to the back of my mind.
I was fortunate to flow down from a family tree built with a strong moral foundation of spouses who certainly experienced “young love” but worked hard to let their love grow and mature over the decades.  My parents each had traits that could drive the other crazy, but I watched them both exhibit unconditional love until the very end. 
My Mom could be a handful at times, but during Dad’s last Christmas on Earth and in the final stages of Alzheimer’s, he sensed that presents were being wrapped and Christmas was near.  He mumbled to a daughter to bring him a pen.  He had an unusual habit that, in addition to physical gifts, he would give his beloved a check, so she might purchase exactly what her heart desired.
My Grandmother loved her husband till he passed, even though he’d had a drinking problem for decades, she never gave up on him, and with her help, he finally broke that habit.  With all his problems, he loved and provided for her.  Divorce was never considered.
Merely staying together isn’t the goal.  Loving support is.  One husband in Houston I knew was suffering from congestive heart failure.  We all knew the end was approaching for this affable loving man.  His wife sat with him his last evening, with only one friend there to offer support. The husband was gasping in agony for breath. The cardiologist advised that he be given massive doses of morphine along with a sedative.  Her friend later told me she was shocked when the wife indicated she was going home, when it seemed obvious he'd not make it through the night.  I’m certainly not passing judgement, as we all must act on our own feelings, but loving spouses must always be there for one another.
For now, I’ll just continue my morning workouts and observe these quiet love birds as they go through their routine, and be thankful that I had the same experiences in my youth.  If you find that person at any age, and it’s your wife, then be thankful and continue to love them.  If you’re unattached and meet someone that creates that magic, then jump on that “merry-go-round” and see where it takes you.