I am sitting at a coffee shop next to Lego land in the Mall of America. It overlooks the amusement park called Nickelodeon Universe. What I notice are the large number of elderly couples walking through the park and filling the coffee shop around me. But what really catches my attention is how happy they look.
At the table in front of me is a grey-haired pair sitting next to each other, not across from each other, but chair to chair, hip-replacement to hip-replacement and very close.. Uncomfortably close. Just shy of 80 years old, I’d say, these two love birds are whispering things in each others ears. First her, then him. I’m guessing something naughty because she blushes and they both giggled. Get a room I’m thinking to myself and then I smile.
There’s another elderly couple. They are holding hands and looking at the toys displayed in the toy store window. A drop of vanilla ice cream from the women’s cone plops on the ground and they laugh. They too, look happy. They too, look content.
I think to myself, I want that for me and my bride. That when we get to that age, we too can be naughty and giggle and walk through an amusement park holding hands and stop for ice cream together.
Marriage is not dead as some would think. Longevity in this relationship is still possible and real and desirable. For some, it hasn’t happened. For some it won’t. For others it has happened and then un-happened, leaving the scars that remind them of what could have been and might yet still be.
Now there’s another ancient man, pushing his wife of a gazillion years in a wheel chair. Most likely, she has become unable to communicate as confirmed by the blank look on her face and the bib around her neck. No matter. He still pushes her into a Christmas shop that she no doubt used to love but now can’t remember. He still pushes. That’s love.
I am reminded that that kind of Love is not lost. That kind of Love is not weakened. That kind of Love is not retired or growing old or evidenced only in our grandparents. Because now I see a young couple with a little bambino strapped to dads back. The couple acts like the elderly couples, minus the wrinkles. They are still in love. Still holding hands. Still looking at toys through the window. Still whispering naughty things to each other and giggling. And that is that kind of love.