The other night I went to see a play – more a reading of letters, really – between Lois and Bill Wilson – Bill, of course was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, while Lois, his lovely wife, was the founder of Al-Anon. As I sat and listened I realized what love and commitment means. They had it. They had other things as well, but they most assuredly had this deep, defining love – for each other.
Also, I sat next to one of the smartest, most eloquent young ladies I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. She is the wife of a friend mine, and since I don’t have too many people in my life I can identify as friend, it is a lucky time for me. My turn in the sunlight, so to speak. My turn learning, listening, saying little and listening. I don’t listen well. But she is so interesting in her grasp of the world that I couldn’t help myself being enraptured by her tales. She is full of life to the point life should be; measured by a smile, lighting up all around it.
I wasn’t feeling the best so I wasn’t the best of company, but she cured me. When the play was over, I wanted to hear more of her stories. Some are gifted that way and she has the gift. I make a living, partially, writing for others. I write well, sometimes. Other times I should have stayed in bed. I wanted to see this play and was going to sneak in the back.
There was no pressure for me to attend. These friends don’t force themselves on anybody because they are sought out for conversation. They are engaged with life and people find them endearing. People seek them out.
As I listened to the reading of the letters Bill and Lois had penned each other, it dawned on me how my two friends had survived, Naw. How they’d thrived. These two were one yet separate. They were happily married. I’m sure they found each other as did Bill and Lois; by preordained chance. Lucky break. At least for the rest of us.
With situations like that, you always want to ask: “Howda do it? Howda stay married for so long?” You don’t ask, though. It is not an answer found in words, anyway. It is in answer found in a touch, a nod, a wink, experience of knowing; action. The answer is in the doing, not the knowing.
Somebody was looking for me near the end of Friday (that’s Sept. 9, 2011). I’d pissed them off. For good reason. I wasn’t thinking. I do that a lot. I made my amends and remembered that talk is cheap. Action is not. Knowing is knowing. Doing is doing. I’d rather do it then know it. I’m going to do better.
The four fine actors on the stage that night know this. They do it. Bill and Lois knew this. They did it. My two friends know this. Doing is so much finer than knowing. Bill and Lois were together well onto their 6th decade of putting pen to paper when he passed.
Being together is an action. And action is the magic word. I am so lucky to have been able to sit next to this lovely lady during the play. So lucky to sit next to her husband nearly every week. Break bread with him. Learn from him. And just be.
Sure beats the alternative.