Today, I met with the most amazing man. It was love at first sight. No, he is not Prince Charming. As a matter of fact, he is an 87-year-old veteran marine who goes by the nickname of “Babe” who pulled my heart strings.
Although Babe’s story is similar in nature of the many who served along with him, there is something intrinsically different about him. He recants how he dated his wife for two years by mail – never having met her until after those two years. He went on to marry her. This doesn’t even begin to cover the special quality he has.
There was a knowing in his eyes that made its way up from the depths of his heart when he spoke. You see, after every sentence laden with details of his war life, his romantic life and his time spent as a 400 + batter on the ball field – were gratitude and humility. Men like him valued the joys of romance and the freedom to play ball because they understood how quickly the “rage of war” could heighten their fears. Rather than choose fear, they embraced all that life could offer that was joyful and pure – like courting his wife or batting that 400th hit.
His story was a blessing in that it provided the real meaning of life. Those qualities of gratitude and humility pierced every sentence shared with me. He commented on how he hopes his generation is the last to fully understand the ravages of war that he saw first-hand and what war and death were all about.
He said the gift within that was that he got to know gratitude and humility on the other side of that destruction. This is how he gained humility and appreciation for all that is, for life, for the art of true love and romance.
To him, these weren’t just words; his life experience was a mix and a balance of humility and an all-encompassing knowing. That knowing that lives deeply embedded in his heart and expressed through his eyes. He expressed with the utmost dignity that even though he had witnessed the raw ravages of war, that he was honestly a lucky man to have come out the other side with gratitude and humility. Imagine that.
He looked me in the eye then and spoke to my spirit, as if he were my own father – he said that gratefulness and staying humble were the secrets to life.
That’s all he said as he finished chatting with me and that was enough for me.