Lost & Found: My Greatest Christmas Gift

“I didn’t know what day it was
When you walked into the room
I said hello unnoticed
You said goodbye too soon”
You’re In My Heart by Rod Stewart  

Recently, my mother-in-law gave me a beautiful photo of my  wife – smiling sweetly as ever. And, judging by her looks and attire, it was from a few decades ago when we had first fallen madly in love. Being the older (and wiser?) one, I thought I knew a good thing when I saw it.

Holding that photo now, it seems she’s seeing straight through the camera and right into my heart.

You may have noticed people with a dominant eye – one either of happiness; or, the other more serious: each eye telling a different story. The ancient mystics talked about the eyes as being the pathway to the soul… and what darkness if that light is gone! But rarely do you see both eyes full of light, as with hers, positively dancing with life and love.

So, it may come as a surprise to learn that I almost threw it all away.

Kenny Rogers, who performs his last concert this month, has said there’s a fine line between being selfish and being driven. And, earlier in my life, I crossed that line by taking her love for granted.

We’d been spending an evening with friends celebrating our Christmas engagement. But, I became sarcastic towards her – just because I could. I thought I was being funny… even as our friends tried to stop me. She’d given me a warning look to shut up, but I recklessly disregarded her feelings.

As I continued, those same eyes normally filled with love, now turned on me like a cornered tigress – revealing shock, betrayal and sadness, they flashed with anger and hurt – something I hope I never see again. They were saying, “It’s over!”

“I’m so hard to handle, I’m selfish and I’m sad,
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby, that I ever had… I made my baby cry.”
River by Joni Mitchell

I had to grow up fast… from being a “cowboy” to a man… figuratively, throwing myself at her feet; literally, begging for forgiveness. I learned two things from that experience: without mutual respect there is no relationship, and that I needed her more than she needed me.

“And she believes in me
I’ll never know just what she sees in me… God her love is true” –
She Believes in Me
by Kenny Rogers

I’ve placed that photo on the bedside table… giving thanks every day. But, the thought occurred to me: when was the last time I really looked into my wife’s eyes? I’m sad to say, not lately.

Fortunately, I don’t have to live in a Kodachrome past, but even if I did… the greatest Christmas gift I have – or will ever have – would still beat within me.

“I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you”
Song for a Winter’s Night by Gordon Lightfoot

Merry Christmas to you… and yours!


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