There’s a lot in life we can look back at and be proud of (and ashamed of). We all have our talents, gifts, lucky moments. My life has been filled with excitement and an almost constant hunt for new experiences, so I have a fairly large mental photo album of interesting images, and film clips playing through my head.
I climbed for a number of years, and was pretty good at it. I’ve built furniture, taught, built a business and sold it, learned to cook, built houses, I write…all of it was exciting and interesting. I’ve been a photographer, a sculptor and painter, a civil servant, a soldier, an explorer, a rifleman, a farmer, a public access TV producer…all of it done just for the fun of it.
But out of all the things I’ve done in my life, I feel I’ve only done one thing right; I made a woman, who had never felt she was worthy of love and respect, believe she was worthy of love and respect just for who she is. I count this as my greatest accomplishment.
Don’t get me wrong. I have done some things well. I have a son who is a good and decent man, but that had as much to do with the person he started out as, as it did with anything I taught him. This is evidenced by the MANY times I failed in my parenting role, only to have him turn into a good man anyway. I can write a good story and feel with a hundred years or so to refine my writing skill, I might actually be great at it.
But the one thing I know I did right was to meet, fall in love with and share a life with an amazing woman who didn’t know she was amazing. Slowly (sometimes painfully so), I convinced her that she was more than worthy of being loved, respected, spoiled and adored for the person she is. Thus creating a wonderful, nearly euphoric spiral of loving each other more today than the day before. I was unaware how wonderful that would be until it happened.
I don’t know what the outcome of her treatments will be. I know what I hope for, but reality has never been kind to either of us…hope has often been a curse in our lives, leaving us blindsided by reality when hope told us everything would be okay. Hope is an asshole sometimes. But more than anything else, we’ve felt joy…even through the pain. Even now.
When my life is over, I’ll have a lot of memories to take with me wherever it is that memories go when life is over. But there will only be one thing I will ever count as having done right–making my wonderful Gretel realize she is an amazing woman, deserving of love exactly the way she is. In that alone, I feel like my life has had meaning, very much the same way she has made me to feel love unconditionally. She saved me as much as I saved her, and that, my friends, is a life well lived.
S.L. Shelton is the author of an Amazon Bestselling Thriller/Action Espionage Series, (The Scott Wolfe Series). Follow him here on WordPress, on Twitter @SLSheltonAuthor or Facebook. If you feel the desire to help, you can make a contribution at the GoFundMe that their daughter set up, or buy his books.