Monday, October 21, 2013

love's greatest gift

I know a man who’s smart, kind, generous, and overall the sort of person you’d call first if you got into any kind of trouble. Unfortunately, he is also the worst story/joke/anecdote teller I have ever met. Worse, for some mysterious reason he delights in telling stories that have no point, jokes that aren’t funny, tedious anecdotes that meander forever and then just end. Like a highway in the middle of nowhere that abruptly stops because the builders ran out of money. Unfortunately this man enjoys holding the floor at parties and gatherings. Inevitably when he sees a chance, he jumps right into the fray with a “I heard a great joke—” or “The strangest thing happened to me this morning—” But his joke is never great and what happened to him that morning turns out to be a long and winding road to verbal nowhere. This man’s wife died recently and only now did I realize he lost among other things, his greatest audience. One of the endearing things about love is how it blinds us to certain obvious faults in our partners, despite the fact everyone else sees them. Once at a large party this man was telling a story. His wife was listening with a big smile and her full attention beaming 100 watts right at him. If you scanned the rest of the room you saw a lot of glazed eyes and looks of impatience. But not her. To her eyes, her husband had *grandezza*, the great Italian word that connotes not only greatness, but larger-than-lifeness. When he spoke, no one listened like she did, no matter what he was saying. And that might have been her greatest gift of all to him.
 — Jonathan Carroll

(I think I would go so far as to say that maybe it isn't a "blindness" to the faults of those we love -- but that because we love them that we can fully see them -- see past faults that would obstruct our vision -- and love them for who they truly are.)

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