Today is the 9th anniversary of the day I married my wife. It is not the anniversary of the day I proposed to her, but to mark today’s milestone I’d like to tell a story about that day which took place in 2002.
I will not tell you a long detailed story of how much my guts were churning leading up to my proposal or what I said or how I said it. But I’ll give you a small bit of context. She and I had been in a long-distance relationship for about 3 years. It only made me long for her more. I was desparate to put this going back and forth, this cycle of presence and distance, to an end. In making my case that day, I briefly made her think I was breaking up with her, though that was the farthest thing from my mind.
When I proposed we were having a picnic beside the lake in my home town. After she said yes, relief set in and my heart was soaring to unimaginable heights. As she and I both settled in to what had just happened, I noticed that a man, a complete stranger, was jogging past on a nearby bike path. I was very close to stopping him, waving him over to us, and telling him that I wanted him to be the first to know that I’d just proposed and that she’d said “yes” and that this was the happiest day of my life and that I wanted him to be the first to know about it.
I did not do it. I don’t know why. Maybe I thought I would scare the dude, and that my new wife-to-be would think I was an oddball and would reconsider. I think there is a certain amount of time after the proposal wherein reconsideration is within the rules, yeah?
The point is that even then I knew that there was something sacred in sharing the joy of others, or in this case sharing my joy with others as though that person were my very self. I knew somehow that this person was, as everyone is, one with “me”, whatever “me” is. And therefore it did not matter whether he was the first to share in my joy or someone who I already knew intimately like an immediate family member or friend.
I did not share my joy with that stranger that day, but I’ve pulled similar stunts since then, though on a much smaller scale. And I can tell you that if you do this, as a demonstration that you recognize that person as a part of your very self, as I said, the benefit is unimaginable.
The joy I felt with my wife-to-be that day was something personal and that which no one else could understand. Every couple has their own “something” similar to what we experienced, but still it is their’s only. At the same time it was so great that it could be passed on to manifest as a different kind of joy in others.
You may be thinking “Are you so deluded that you think a complete stranger would really care that you just secured a wedding partner via the presentation of a piece of jewelry?” It’s not that so much as that all connections with fellow beings are equally important. None will ever hold an equal place in the heart as the connection you make when you wed. And I make no apologies that I’ve always said I make one allowance for pure duality in my worldview and that is the unarguable fact that she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Notice I did not say “I have” the most beautiful wife…, but “she IS” the most beautiful… A little duality is okay as long as there is no ego attachment involved. 🙂 But I digress.
The real lesson is that each time we reach out to another person in recognition of the Source you share in common, you take one step closer to that Source, I think.
Jai Hari Aum.