Last year my husband’s family home he grew up in all those years ago was put on the market and sold to a new family. With that transition I came to terms with the fact that “home” – complete with all its memories and sense of love, nostalgia and comfort- is not a destination per se, but rather a soft place in your heart where you hold fond feelings of good times spent with family and friends, including those who are no longer with us. That very same week my husband and I were in the local doctors waiting room for a lengthy period (which is the unfortunate trade off we have for having an amazing general practitioner). It was here we witnessed something out of the ordinary, a remarkable relationship that could teach us all a thing or two about love, life and indeed the world.
Hubby and I were playing idly on our phones while trying not to inhale the germs made prevalent by the sniffling and sneezing of co-patients nearby. Ah, flu season! You had me at ah-choo. I digress; while we were there a sweet elderly looking couple emerged from the doctor’s treating room together clutching hands, with an unsteady sway as either a united show of love or a more practicable solution to stability involved in walking on an elderly frame.
The sweet old woman who donned gloves as though she could have been channeling her inner royalty went over to the counter at our local medical Centre and held the receptionists hand. She whispered something with familiarity before turning to leave. On the way out, she announced loudly with animation that she couldn’t get out. She proceeded to continually pull the clearly marked “push” door. Her husband sighed and said, “You have to push the door.” He was reassuringly assertive but patient nonetheless. She gave a sigh and then giggle as he opened the door. You could just tell this kind of thing had happened before.
As the door flung open the old woman looked alarmed and yelled out, “Where’s the car? It’s gone!” Again, the old man sighed this time waving his hands and saying, “We parked down the street.” And so, the couple disappeared for a few moments down that suburban leafy street of Melbourne. A few minutes later they re-emerged at the clinic looking a bit frazzled to again speak to the patient receptionist. It was at this point that it became apparent through explanation they had caught a taxi to the doctor’s surgery together. Presumably that was only an hour or two beforehand?!
Upon this revelation the couple seemed less confused and while giving some relieved chuckles (that their car wasn’t missing) and they again set off this time to catch a bus home for the return leg of their adventure. One can only hope they were up with the latest travel card technology or indeed encountered an understanding bus driver. They clung so fiercely (and perhaps with desperation for all I know) to their independence. A few things occurred to me about this…. Firstly, there was the fact that our generation could learn much about relationship goals from these beautiful, stoic and big-hearted strangers.
There was something brave about the couple embarking on this probably quite routine outing together. Perhaps I’m a pea heart but I would have given up and requested a home visiting doctor long before this point of my journey in life. Secondly, the fact that the duo was undoubtedly committed to weathering the storm of a confusing modern world together was obvious, beautiful and a bit gut wrenching. My own husband was quite concerned for the well-being of the beautiful strangers and said perhaps brashly, “I think they may have lost their marbles…. I hope they are ok and make it home.”
I watched the beautiful stranger’s backs as they disappeared again beyond the car-park and relative safety of that doctor’s clinic into a big wide and sometimes scary world. And, I couldn’t help but think if the couple had each other and continued to face life’s adventures together they’d be fine. For all the trials that faced them ahead it seemed that one aspect of their lives that was still very much intact. And that was their solid love, loyalty and big hearts. Given that the lesson in our lives was so fresh I reflected again that home is where the heart. So, I squeezed Steve’s hand and gave him a wink reassuring him, “Babe, they’re beautiful together and in love and it looks like they have been and will be forever. So, I think they already are home.”