Several years ago, I noticed how often the word ‘amazing’ was used by contestants on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. “___ looks amazing… The dinner was amazing… ___ wore the most amazing dress… We are at this amazing place with amazing food… etc. etc.” Just count the amazings next time the show airs. What is amazing to me is how un-amazing the claimed reality of this reality show is. Can amazing, real, lasting love be found on television? In my opinion, it is virtually impossible. The entire process of falling in love is not about rapid exclusion. Most important, love should not be orchestrated with the primary goal of entertaining the masses.
The year was 1971. A 30-year-old sailor sat in a café across the table from a 29-year-old brunette. She had just completed her graduate degree in chemistry. They were only dating for three months when he uttered the following words. “I love you. I have never met anyone like you. We only know one another for a few weeks, but if you do me the honor of marrying me, I give you my word that I would never stop trying to make you happy.” She was stunned but said “yes” with no hesitation. He kept his promise, and since that moment, my parents have never been apart. No political unrest in their country, no religious persecution, no poverty, no family tragedies could rip them apart. They had friends. They had their hobbies and passions. But, at the end of the day, they loved one another more than life itself.
My parents did not go on location dates across the globe and never jumped out of airplanes together, believing they were jumping into love, only to jump into love with someone else the following week. They never kissed while hanging off a cliff (not to my knowledge at least) or drank wine after repelling off a building. They never pretended to be on a remote island with a film crew documenting scripted discussions (with the word ‘amazing’ thrown in every other sentence) as they ate lobster on a semi-deserted beach. They also never loved more than one person at once (an occurrence that seems to happen on every season of The Bachelor / Bachelorette). And they never decided who they would marry after spending three days sleeping with three different people to truly know who their ‘soul mate’ was. They did not need all that. They did not fall in love, so others could see them fall in love. And, unlike TV Show contestants, their love was not mere infatuation generated by adrenaline producing stunts. There were many roses on that date in 1971, but only one woman.
My parents did not have a glamorous life. In fact, their life was an extremely difficult one. They are alive and at age 78. They retired from work at the age of 74. Their only joy is being next to one another, and seeing their children and grandkids on weekends. What they have is simple, but pure love. The purest love one can ever experience. I look at my folks now, and I see two ordinary people living in an ordinary home on an ordinary street in a working-class suburb. Yet in that regular home, live two people who discovered extraordinary love. Even as I write this entry, they continue to bring out the best in one another.
Now that’s AMAZING!