Now that I am middle aged (GASP!), my mind is not as sharp as it once was. I often find myself forgetting things, while other times, random memories from long ago just pop into my head things I haven't thought about for decades.
Recently, one brief moment from my teen years surfaced and provided me with the enlightenment I should have garnered from the original experience long ago.
Since I was a teenager, one of my favorite past times has been to go somewhere and people watch. Not in a creepy, stalker kind of way, but just to observe.
One of my favorite places to do this back then was at "The Q."
"The Q" is an indoor farmers market in Quakertown. Going there with friends to watch the people provided countless hours of entertainment for us.
Admittedly, we could be quite immature and would sometimes laugh among ourselves at people who were different from us; but that wasn't really why I was there.
I liked to see people's expressions and how they interacted with others, and I wondered what they were thinking and feeling at that particular time.
It's kind of like Christian Slater's character in the movie "Bed of Roses," where he chooses to deliver flowers to people, just so he can see the expression on their faces and share the moment with them.
On one particular day of people watching, we spotted a very old couple walking together, with their arms interlocked and holding hands. My friends were laughing and saying that they were too old to be holding hands. They thought it was weird. I, on the other hand, was fascinated and found them to be adorable.
After hearing a few inappropriate comments from one of the girls, I decide to get up and go speak to them.
I asked them how long they had been married, to which the gentleman replied "Forty-seven years."
After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I asked him why, after all those years, do they still hold hands.
"We hold each other up," he said.
I chuckled because it didn't appear that either of them had any difficulty walking.
Then he said to me, "Sometimes, my legs get a little wobbly and she steadies me. And sometimes, she gets a little lost and I guide her. We hold each other up."
I smiled and nodded my head, told them to have a nice day, and walked back to my friends, who thought I was weird for talking to them.
I didn't think about that couple again until recently, when the memory came back to me.
I thought about his words, "We hold each other up," and how each needed and relied on the other just to get through the day. I thought about how many difficult experiences they must have faced together in the 47 years they had been married, and how often they must have held each other up when life was bringing them down.
How blessed each was to have the other and what an incredible amount of love, forgiveness, patience, commitment and perseverance it must have taken the two of them to remain by each other's side for 47 years.
Then I thought about all of the different people who have held me up through the most challenging and painful times in my life. Whether it was a kind word, a hug or some caring deed, there have been people who have been there beside me, holding me up when all I really wanted to do was to just give up and shut down.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.
It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of our daily lives that we don't see the people around us who need to be held up. But, if we just take some time to "watch" others instead of focusing on ourselves, no doubt we will encounter someone who can use a little guidance or a couple of loving arms to steady them.
Who needs you to hold them up today?