Kip and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Italy this fall. Here's a short reflection I wrote one afternoon:
Today as we sat in a piazza in Montecatini, a small Italian city, enjoying pizza and wine, coffee and tiramisu, two events unrolled simultaneously. Over Kip’s shoulder, I observed a toddler girl teeter then tumble, sliding face first along the brick pavement. She stayed down but looked up at her parents to determine the appropriate response. Her bottom lip quivered. But seeing their encouragement and realizing no damage had been done, she bounced up and continued hopping along down the square with her mom and dad.
At the same moment, Kip, whose back is to this scene, lights up in a long smile. He’s watching an elderly American couple stand and teeter together as they leave the cafe table with empty beer glasses and head down the street. The 80-year old man has obviously had a stroke; his sloppy face and limp left side make that clear. But his wife holds his right hand and together these two American tourists bumble down the Italian street together.
Life hits hard. Pain arrives early and lasts late. How do we choose to walk? Are we willing to recognize the ones who walk with us, to lean on them, to be encouraged and resilient because of them? Are we willing to be leaned on and encourage our fellow walkers?