I fell in love once. It was in the middle of a warm spring rain, I was lost in some reckless laughter outside of a Home Depot holding a pink umbrella. It wasn’t a love at first sight situation, it was a slow build, a gentle curiosity that grew with each passing day until suddenly it hit me upside the head like a snarky seagull’s droppings. It was equal parts terrifying and electrifying. Frankly, it was utterly awesome. (Moo…)
I was just a young pup, living my proverbial Ted Mosby moment – chasing “the one”. (Spoiler alert, she wasn’t the one). While that day sticks out in my mind, I’ve been close a few other times. Once with the funniest girl I’ve ever met. Once with a girl who I couldn’t save no matter how hard I tried. With no offense to any of those women, I can’t help but be thankful to be single at 24.
Teenage/early 20’s Sam was kind of an ass. And at the heart of that was a complete disdain for vulnerability. I lacked the courage to tell my whole story and avoided talking about anything too deep most of the time. As you can imagine, it’s hard to build a relationship with someone who won’t let you in. And while I can look back on some incredible moments of joy in those relationships, I am actually pretty happy they didn’t work out.
These past few years I have had some serious growing up to do, some soul-searching, and a lot of reading about what a good marriage actually can look like. I wasn’t ready in the least bit to be the type of husband that could sustain a healthy, thriving family. Not to mention, I wasn’t positive I even wanted that.
As a man who has made a career of saying “I am never getting married,” it’s safe to say there is hilarity in the fact that I became a wedding DJ, collecting a paycheck to pay witness to “true love” at its cheesiest form on a bi-weekly basis. Yet, with every wedding I’ve been to, with every first dance I’ve watched, every cake fight I’ve laughed at, every drunken aunt Edna I’ve hung out with, my favorite moment of a wedding is a moment few people notice.
After the first 40 minutes or so of a typical wedding dance there is typically a natural lull in the action. After doing “The Twist”, rocking a little “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”, shaking it to a little “Brown-Eyed Girl”, even the most gung-ho wedding guests leave to refill, to freshen up or to urinate. In that moment, I say in my suavest voice, “okay folks, we’re going to slow it down for a just a couple minutes.” As I fade in the next song, an infamous guitar solo line slides out of the speakers, I change the lights to a soft blue and Eric Clapton sings “It’s late in the evening, she’s wondering what clothes to wear.”
At first, it appears as if no one is going to come except a few intoxicated hipsters. Then, from the back of the room, it starts. Married couples who haven’t danced together in years begin finding their way to the dance floor.
And there, slow dancing just as they did decades before at their own wedding, is my picture of true love.
Two people who have lived life together, who have weathered Minnesota winters, raised babies, and struggled financially together. Two people who, when looking into each others wrinkled eyes still sing to each other “you look wonderful tonight.”
In a discussion with my good married friend, he asked “what exactly are you looking for?” After a few seconds of silence, he asked “how will you know when you’ve found it?” Unfortunately, I still don’t have an answer. I do think that much of our culture is going about it the wrong way.
What does an online dating site ask about? Interests, favorite books, movies, music. All things that will change, that will fade. Obviously you need something to talk about, yet, way more important than any of those things is a sense of urgency to LIVE. A curiosity about the vast world we live in. A belief that we are put here to help people. An ideal that a healthy relationship isn’t easy and never happens by accident.
I can’t be certain I will ever have those pink-umbrella, Home Depot feelings again. I can’t know that marriage is in God’s plan for me. I can work everyday to become the type of person I would want to meet. I can work to be healthy and honorable. At the end of the day, I think most 20 something’s are too worried about finding love, too busy longing for the Notebook to realize that if you live a life you’re proud of, if you dare greatly, pursue happiness and adventure, one day you’ll look up and BAM, there the seagull droppings of love will be.
Then again, what the hell do I know.
This song can be found in my Music Playlist, “Recklessly Alive.”
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