I ventured into YouTube this afternoon, intending to feed my addiction to the song “Shallow”, sung by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. I went in search of a clip showing their singing embrace at the Academy Awards. I melted when she rested her head against his at the end. Today, I never got there.
I was waylaid by a video showing a US serviceman’s greeting to his family on the big screen at a football game. There was his wife, teenaged son and maybe 10-year-old daughter, all decked out in their finery. As they stared longingly at the screen, and as his message completed, the announcer asked them to turn around. Walking across the field, wearing his uniform, was their husband and father. The little girl’s eyed exploded and hands came to her face. “Daddy!” Then she sprinted to her dad, throwing her body up against his. Arms holding tight around his neck, tears falling. I cried too.
I kept watching homecoming videos – reunions with parents, spouses, kids and friends. At graduation ceremonies, jumping out of boxes in living rooms, a special visitor coming into the kindergarten class. Some soldiers talked a lot. Some just silently held their loved ones. Love wrapped itself around all of them.
I did this for my mom and dad once, flying back to Ontario from Alberta for a surprise. I was hiding away in a little space off the living room of the farm where mom grew up. Mom, dad, Aunt Gertrude and Uncle Orville had just come into the driveway. And now they were sitting down. Through the door, I heard the voices of the people I loved. And then the door opened. Hugs, tears, holding each other in all the ways possible.
I just spent an hour or more immersed in this depth of love. I don’t have any kids. My dear wife Jody has died. But this love, given and received, is available to me. In those moments of contact, there is nothing but the beloved. It’s beyond happy. It’s so beyond the usual rhythms of the day. May we embrace it.