One word that changes things.
Have you ever taken a gondola up to the top of Table Mountain and beheld the panoramic views of Cape Town? Have you ever looked down upon a valley, overlooked by the very mountain you are atop and seen the beautiful blue ocean water embrace the perfect beaches?
Have you ever boarded a ferry surrounded by people that you don’t know, led by people that don’t even speak the same language, after arriving in a city thousands of years old the night before? Have you ever watched the sun slowly kiss the sea as you enjoy a glass of wine and the company of people you just met?
And have you ever danced until 2 am on a crowded dancefloor? The live music blaring so loud you couldn’t hear what made the people laugh, but you knew it had something to do with the atmosphere? The light hint of smoke slowly drifting across the room, mixing with the hot air of the Mediterranean city. The sweat on your shirt a testament to the fact that you have been dancing for hours and you just want to keep going.
Have you ever been on a safari? A genuine safari? Have you ever witnessed the majesty of elephants running in pairs and playing in the heat of the African sun? The bright glare blinding you as it hit the grey of the elephant just right? Have you ever seen hippos spraying each other with water and a momma hippo teaching her young one to swim by giving it lessons on holding it’s breath? Have you ever looked a lion in the eyes and saw the browns so close it was as if you were looking in the mirror? Have you ever had champagne while overlooking the natural habitat of the Big Five?
And have you ever walked the stairs of ancient civilizations? The crowded stone stairs that had been walked by millions before you? The people selling their authentic clothes and jewelry in a language never before heard by your ears? Have you ever bumped into people from other countries and felt connections that you never knew existed? And have you gotten hints of food that you’d never tasted that mixed with the perfumes of local shops? Lavender mixing with basil, while you slowly sipped a latte overlooking a volcano and cruise ships unloading passengers boat by boat on one of their many stops?
Have you ever swam in the Aegean sea? Have you ever looked down in the water, without goggles, and you could see a small octopus as it propelled itself by you in search of food? Have you ever seen seagrass so blue you thought the sky had sent some of itself down to explore what the ocean was like? Have you ever swam back to the beach after spending hours just exploring, to be met by a waiter who gave you a glass of wine while the water on your body dried in the hot European sun?
And have you ever accompanied the sun as it rose across the New York skyline? Have you ever watched it from the perspective of the clouds as its’ beams bent through the towering giants of metal? Have you ever woken up before the city the never sleeps, silently landing during it’s few hours of slumber?
And have you ever scrolled the the pages of Facebook with your wife? Have you ever eaten grilled cheese or pizza with fruit cups and coffee while you commented on all the crazy things people are up to? Have you ever watched a movie while she slowly and silently fell asleep on you, only knowing she was asleep by the gentle shaking?
Have you ever kissed someone and knew that it was the only place you ever wanted to be? Have you ever said “I do,” and knew? Have you ever made love to the person you promised your heart to before God and man?
And did you ever mess it up so bad you could never get it back? Have you ever done things so stupid that that same woman never wanted to even see you again?
I can tell you that marriage makes Facebook and frisbee seem more exciting than any trip to any country. And if I could do it all over again, I’d rather spend an hour watching one of our old shows together, than the rest of my life in Spain or France or Austria or all of them.
Be thankful for the mundane and appreciate how much more exciting it is to wake up next to the woman God set aside for you every morning, than climbing the wonders of the world. See the sunsets and sunrises in her eyes instead. Climb the stairs of her heart. Swim in her kisses and embrace her with a hug. Bask in the scent of her fragrances and witness the beauty of growing old with your own gift from God. What has nature over His beauty? Nothing.