Couples Counseling Articles

Flashback and Gratitude

coupleDo you remember ‘When Harry Met Sally’?

This classic film came to mind as I returned to Charlotte, right after the recent Paris attacks.

I was over concerned about airport security that morning and got to my gate way too early. Fortunately, I noticed a Starbucks across the way and felt some relief as I walked over to have a cup of coffee.

The line was atrocious and snaked around the corner so I took a seat at the bar and kept an eye out for a possible break.

That’s when two people slid onto the stools next to me and settled in with their carry-ons.

Once she got situated, he went off to stand in line and place their order.

That’s when I struck up a conversation with Barbara and learned that she and her husband, Brian were from Sydney, Australia. They’d had a difficult morning.

It all started when Barbara and Brian were on their way to the airport and realized she’d left their passports lying on the hotel bed.

There was no good choice. They had to go back, yet their driver refused to turn the car around.

Eventually, he agreed to drop them off on the side of a busy road in the middle of Los Angeles where they hailed a taxi and a compassionate driver drove them back to the hotel.

Brian and Barbara beat housekeeping to the room; grabbed their passports and dashed back to LAX in plenty of time to bump into me before catching their flight.

There was a specialness about them.

They were gentle, affirmative and attentive – in an effortless kind of way.

Every now and then, they would nod and finish each other’s sentences.

As they told their story, it was evident they were rattled but neither blamed the other or expressed even a tinge of anger.

What they talked about mostly was gratitude and how fortunate they were.

Their eyes sparkled as they talked about the wonderful cab driver who saved the day!

Of course, I couldn’t help asking Brian and Barbara how they met.

Turns out, as an Australian soldier serving in Vietnam, one of Brian’s buddies placed an ad in a hometown newspaper.

He was lonely and wanted someone special to write to him.

In fact, hundreds of women sent letters and photographs and, after selecting a few, Brian’s army buddy scrapped the rest.

That’s when Brian plucked Barbara’s note and picture from the discarded papers and in Brian’s words, ‘That was it.’

They’ve been married 46 years.

Both acknowledged there were ups and downs and their challenges would be familiar to most folks (illnesses, parenting, finances etc.) yet there’s something very special about these two.

I’m so very grateful to have met them.