Everyone has words of wisdom to share, if you ask the right questions or take time to listen. In talking with one of my neighbors, I discovered that she and her husband were childhood sweethearts. When Diane was a 14-year-old junior high student, she met the boy who lived three doors down. He was a couple of years older and in her sister’s grade in school. Their parents knew each other, with both fathers serving in the Army. So even though Jerry was older, he was okay and as Diane put it, “they hit it off.” He invited her to high school dances and they dated throughout college. Eventually they married.
They survived being separated during two Vietnam tours, with one child born while he was gone. Eventually, the family included six children and multiple grandchildren, whom Diane calls her “greatest joy”. Like his father, Jerry spent a career in the Army. Both enjoyed the sense of community that can exist with military life.
What are the secrets to maintaining a long relationship? From talking to Diane, the words that come to mind are commitment, companionship, and comfort. Diane turned 80 this year. She’s been married to “the best husband ever” for over 60 years and counting… Love is a decision.
Ask someone to tell you their story. What lessons have they learned? What pearls do they have to share? For those who are interested in capturing legacy narratives, there are resources available through the Library of Congress, with activities that can be done remotely:
- StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.
- Veterans History Project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
Here are some questions. Pick one and try it during dinner tonight.
- Where do you find joy in your life?
- How have you brought joy to others?
- What has brought you the most happiness so far in your life?
- What haunts you?
- If you were to pick one thing that altered your life, what comes to mind?
- What qualities define you? Is there one distinctive characteristic that sticks out?
- What particular book, poem, painting, story, or trip has inspired you?
- Have you been influenced by a role model? Explain.
- What parts of your life story would you like others to remember and pass on?
- Is there a story that you tell about yourself or that others tell about you, that is quintessentially you?
- What values do you hope to pass on to your family, the world?
- What goals do you want to accomplish?
- If you could wave a magic wand, what one thing would you change (about you, country, or world)?
- What makes you optimistic?
- Is there a quotation or motto that guides you?
- Is there a question I should have asked but didn’t?
© Joan S Grey, 4 MAY 2018
IndexCardCure™: Life harvest