Lessons in love, relationships, attitude and gratitude

I had the pleasure of meeting two truly remarkable people this evening. My wife, future daughter in law and I were having dinner at Fiddleheads (seriously the best restaurant in Maine). A charming gentleman at the next table struck up a conversation with us.

I’d noticed him earlier, relishing a piece of blueberry pie and raving to the server about how delightful it was. I appreciate people who know how to savor simple pleasures. This man is clearly an expert.

It was clear that the couple are regulars and that the staff is their adopted family.

I was struck by the way the couple bantered and laughed so easily but I was amazed by the way this man looked at his wife. Henry and Sonja have been married for 68 years.

He is a retired minister and she a librarian. They have two children, four grandchildren and three members of the ministry in the family. A family with both a lifetime and a legacy of service. Beat that.

“It’s been a wonderful life” he beamed at me. “Oh sure, there are good times and bad, but it’s a great life.”

When’s the last time you or I said that?

His enthusiasm for living and loving is infectious. I confess that when I’m listening to stories about the 1940’s and 50’s I’m usually just pretending to be interested but in the case of this couple, I’d have listened all night.

I watched them for a long time. Seeing them support one another out of the restaurant and into the car. I did the math from their stories and found they appeared at least 15 years younger than their chronological age.

Maybe great love preserves us?

I’m hoping that couple is my wife and 40 years from now. Moreover, I want to have Henry’s attitude every day between now and then.

I’ve been blessed with the love of my life through 28 years of marriage. No man is luckier or more blessed than I… except perhaps Henry by virtue of longevity. In the midst of our overly full and busy lives, I am not always the husband I aspire to be.

I know to take the message even when I don’t like the messenger. In this case, both were delightful. Thank you Sonja & Henry for sharing your precious lives with us. You’re the ideal I’ll strive for.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.