Is your foot on the gas pedal?

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I love soulful conversations.  You know, the kind that leave you so inspired and fulfilled you feel like you are bursting at the seams?  I had one last night.  I was seated next to a woman who has been successfully married for 27 years and she shared some of her insight with me.

She was refined, soft-spoken and all heart.  I scanned the room for her husband, positively making the connection that they belonged to each other.  He was clad in purple pants and a green plaid jacket, smoking his own brand of cigar and entertaining a group of men who clearly wanted to be associated with him.   I appreciated his posture and commented on how well he pulled off what might be considered a precarious outfit.  “I bought those pants for him”, she said proudly, offering him such an adoring glance that I was moved.  “Of course you did”.  It was clear that she was madly in love.

I studied them silently for a moment, drenching myself in possibility.  Then I asked her, “So, what’s your secret?”

“Never take your foot off the gas pedal”, she replied without a hitch.  That’s it?  I wanted more.  I was glad to feel my fella lean in to our conversation just in time to hear her spell it out for me.

“It means you can’t get so comfortable that you stop trying.  EVER.  You are always moving forward – no complacency.  Do things that please him (looking at me).   Do you know the little things that make her happy (looking at him)?  Do them.  Forgive.  Accept each other’s humanness.  Enjoy the space as much as you enjoy the company.  Remember, you love each other because of your differences, not in spite of them.  It’s work.  It will always be work.  But nothing – NOTHING you will ever do will be more worth it.”

I was slightly troubled that it wasn’t more complicated.

“Oh, and we always spend Valentine’s Day together.  No matter where in the world he is, I meet him there on Valentine’s Day.  It’s our thing.”  She gave me an endearing wink and with that, her exposition was complete.

I rely considerably on powerful conversations that lead to major paradigm shifts.  It’s how I make a living.  How often do I allow others to play such a role for me? Good question.  I suppose my ego gets in the way.  It feels better to pretend I have it all figured out until I find myself in the middle of a completely ridiculous argument about something so trivial it’s embarrassing.  Last night, in one brief conversation, my own shift was sparked.  I was inspired to do better, to be better in my own relationship – to focus more on being a provider and less on judging how exceptionally and consistently I’m provided for.

There’s an old saying that goes, “If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done”.  I’d like to add, “…and you have to BE someone you’ve never been.”  I’m not saying I’m going to morph into a completely selfless human being.  That’s not realistic, attainable or even remotely desirable to me.  I am going to try harder though. There’s always room for growth and like my new friend encouraged, “Nothing you will ever do will be more worth it”.

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  • Jennifer Vaughan Flick

    BRILLIANT. Thank you for sharing not only her words, but YOU in the story.

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