It was only a moment but it was one that showed us how important acknowledgment really was and the gift that something as small and easy as a smile and a wave could be.
The two of us frequently take walks in our neighborhood, always waving and saying hello to those who are sitting on their porches or walking their dogs.
Christian, an African who recently moved to a street close to ours, always returned our greetings and seemed happy to see us.
We had no idea that our show of love for each other by holding hands as we walked, as well as our warmly acknowledging him impacted him until one summer evening a few years ago.
Here’s what happened after he rushed to the sidewalk from his porch chair to talk with us…
“How do you do it?” Christian asked after hearing us tell him we were about to have our 21st wedding anniversary and obviously still in love.
“How do you stay in love for 21 years when I’m struggling to make it to 10 years?”
As we talked about how we stay in love, we told how important acknowledgment to keep a relationship healthy and that this moment is the only moment you have to do that.
If you treat that other person like THIS moment is the only one and the last one you’ll ever have together and also express it…
Special moments will be created and before long, you’ll have a lifetime of special moments because you don’t take each other for granted.
Christian had never thought of this and could see the truth of it.
He also could see how our acknowledgment of him each time we walked by, (which not everyone did), showed him warmth and love…
And this could serve as an example for how he could treat his wife with more presence and love.
In every moment in every relationship, there’s a choice and a chance for true connection.
You either open your heart and accept the risk of acting and speaking from love…
Or you close your heart, separating yourself from another.
You either acknowledge when that other person has done something for you or has shown you kindness…
Or you let that opportunity for love pass by forever.
Whether it’s a stranger or someone close to you, you LOSE the opportunity to meet another in love in that moment.
When Otto’s father would hear of someone not doing well physically or he’d be in a reflective mood after someone he cared about died, he would say…
“I want my flowers while I’m living.”
Flowers in this context are just another way of saying acknowledgment, love and kindness.
Otto’s dad wanted to be acknowledged and loved while he was living and cautioned Otto to not wait until he was no longer in physical form to express it.
This is such great advice for keeping any relationship healthy and strong.
There is power in acknowledgment and there’s great love that’s available for all who see and express it as well as receive it.
If you have a question about how to keep your relationship healthy, strong and long-lasting, ask it here…