Friday, 4 July 2014

The Love of my Life


Nat King Cole once sang ‘The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return’. I must say that as I grow older this continues to be the greatest truth I’m learning. When I think of fashion, money and fame, they all fall dim in comparison to love. My love journey began in the arms of my parents who taught me about family, loyalty, sacrifice and this adventure continued when I met the love of my life, Susanne. We met on Australia Day in 1995. It was a beautiful summer evening at a popular South Australian beach. I had gone there with a group of friends to visit someone we all knew who was pole sitting for charity. 

Now for those who don't know, the pole sitting discussed here involves a small cabin perched in top of a 10 foot pole. A series of these poles are lined up in a row and the participants are lifted up into the cabins via a cherry picker. With each of them being sponsored financially by family and friends, the pole sitters spend 24 hours in their cabins before changing over with someone else. While the pole sitters are up they are also able to collect money from passers by via collection buckets on the end of ropes. It was amongst these lofty towers that I met my beautiful wife. 

As I talked to my friends and pole sitters, I started chatting with a girl who seemed amazing. All I could see was a silhouette, ..…but oh what a silhouette. She had a voice that was golden and to top it off she knew who I was. She was a friend of the person we'd come down to see and she'd seen me before. All I knew was that I wanted to see her again…and in the light of day. To make sure of this, I left my phone number in her donation bucket. 

As we left to go home, I knew the long wait had begun. Would she find the number? Would she call and when? Would she be interested in me? And what did she look like in the light? She did call eventually, but only after making me sweat. And we've been together ever since.

My beautiful wife is a truly amazing woman. She is the mother of my four beautiful children, a hard working nurse and my best friend. She puts up with my grumpiness, passive aggressive mood swings, my aversion to organization, my vagueness, my weirdness and my ability to leave my shoes lying anywhere. This is by no means an exhaustive list but enough has been shared. On top of this there is the children. They've also inherited some of this unfortunate behavior. Now there are 5 pairs of shoes lying around.

Susanne is a woman with a deep commitment to God. This is highlighted by the ten years of service she gave as an officer in The Salvation Army, as well as her continued involvement in the life of the church and her work as a nurse. She has a beautiful way with people and I love to watch interact others. Basically I think my wife is amazing.

After 17 years of marriage I am forever grateful that my love journey is with Susanne. She is the most beautiful and graceful woman I know (my mother, mother-in-law and daughter definitely get an honourable mention though). She is fun, fabulous, smart and drop dead gorgeous. Everyday I am thankful she is in my life and everyday I try to make sure she knows, with out a doubt, how much I love and respect her. 

Through our relationship I've learnt that it's so important to find out those things that make your partner feel loved… and to actually do them. Don't assume those things are the same for them as they are for you. Be careful not to dismiss and ridicule them when they're not. We all give and feel love in different ways. You might think your showing love but they may not see it that way. 

‘The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return’. Be merciful to those you love. Relationships aren't about scoring points for yourself but about enriching the lives of those you care for. At the end of the day life's not an exercise in how much you've earned or achieved but about how well you've loved. As for me, I want Susanne, and the family we have together, to know that they are loved, not because of what they do but because of who they are. She is the love of my life and every day, through the fog of work and parenting, I try to make sure she knows it. Life's too short for anything less. Susanne Castle…I love you.