The cool, quiet room was overflowing with the grieving faces of friends and family as the funeral director invited Mrs. Lee up to the podium to speak. The petite, elegant widow walked slowly to the front of the small chapel and calmly began her eulogy.
“I am not going to sing praises for my late husband. Not today. Neither am I going to talk about how good he was.” Mrs. Lee’s eyes flashed.
“Enough people have done that here.” She took a deep breath, allowing the air to fill her lungs before she continued. “Instead, I want to talk about some things that will make some of you feel a bit uncomfortable.”
Several people stopped fanning themselves and sat up a little straighter. “First off, I want to talk about what happened in bed.” She paused dramatically, shifting her weight from side to side. A crow cawed outside the chapel window. She watched it perch itself on a nearby tree.
“Have you ever had difficulty starting your car engine in the morning?” She carefully studied the faces about the room. With a loud, grinding sound, she snorted and rumbled, violently shaking her tiny frame.
“Well, that’s exactly what David’s snoring sounded like.” A cough rose up from the center of the audience. “But wait,” she continued. “Snoring wasn’t the only thing.” A few pairs of feet shuffled nervously under the chairs.
“There was also this rear end wind action as well. Some nights it was so forceful it would wake him up.” A child giggled into her hand while her red-faced mother stifled a grin.
“ ‘What was that’?” he would ask.
“ ‘Oh, it’s the dog’,” I would say. Patting his back and smoothing the covers, I would urge him to go back to sleep.” She touched her hair as if remembering the way her hands felt as they placed themselves on her husband’s gasping body. “Oh, you might find this very funny,” Mrs. Lee offered the whisper of a smile. Her hands clutched the funeral program as she licked her dry lips. “But when his illness was at its worst, these sounds provided comfort and proof that my David was still alive.”
Silence washed over the room. Even the birds outside seemed to be listening.
Mrs. Lee looked heavenward as her voice began to crack. “What I wouldn’t give just to hear those sounds one more time before I sleep.” A single tear wandered down her face, landing noiselessly on her lapel.
“In the end, it’s these small things that you remember, the little imperfections that make them perfect for you.
So, to my beautiful children,” Mrs. Lee swept one hand towards the front row, “I hope that one day you too will find yourselves life partners that are as beautifully imperfect as your father was to me.”
Mrs. Lee’s eloquent tribute to her husband left the entire audience in tears. With just a few heartfelt words she summed up the mystery and magic of a lifelong marriage built on the foundation of love, imperfection and acceptance that knows no bounds.
Wabi Sabi Love is grounded in acceptance. It’s the practice of accepting the flaws, imperfections, limitations – as well as the gifts and the blessings – that formed your shared history as a couple. Acceptance and its counterpart, understanding, are crucial to achieving relationship harmony.
While this sacred love may be imperfect, it is an ever-lasting and satisfying love. What if we discovered that romantic love was never meant to be perfect, but to guide us to this highest form of love? What if, in fact, soulmate love exists to propel us into an understanding of Wabi Sabi Love, such as Mrs. Lee experienced?
Can you imagine what the world would look like, feel like, be like if the foundational premise of romantic love and deep intimacy was based on the art of loving one’s imperfections rather than the illusionary fantasy that your relationship is fabulous only when both people are acting perfectly and behaving in ways that are acceptable to the other? Imagine a world in which imperfection is the accepted norm and it is actually cherished.
What if the new evolution of partnership operated on principles that give rise to authentic, meaningful, fulfilling and fun relationships?
Anyone who has found this highest level of Wabi Sabi Love knows that it comes in one form and one form only: through exploring, embracing and actually falling in love with the cracks in each other and ourselves.
Wishing you real Wabi Sabi Love,