We had a client meeting in Northern New Jersey, about 2.5 hours away from where we live so we dropped the kids at Grammie and Papa's house and drove to the meeting. Our client is J and his wife is L. They are both 55 years old. This was our first time meeting them in person, even though we have been doing work for J for several months (we have a web marketing company, he has a home improvement business).
After we all went for lunch, Dan met with J in their home office and I sat and talked with L in the living room for about 2 hours. L is permanently disabled and disfigured from a disease that in the beginning of it (about 15 years ago) left her completely bedridden, in her second story apartment, for two years. Over the years she has been told a number of times she only had a short time to live.
A year into her 2 year bedridden state, J came to visit her at her house (they had gone to high school together, but weren't connected after that. He had heard about her and her illness and wanted to visit). After 4 straight nights of visiting her, he found a way to get her out of the house and drove her around town so she could feel the wind in her hair. He did that for several nights in a row. Two weeks later he proposed to her. She was stunned and after she improved and was no longer bedridden, they got married.
Two things really struck me about this couple and these two things just made for a surprisingly beautiful Valentine's Day.
The first was that she has the most amazingly positive attitude. I have never met anyone like her. She's a "Jersey Girl" at heart, although her disease has ravaged her body and she looks much older than her 55 years. But she is the kind of person that after spending just 30 minutes with her, you just truly do not see her disability or disfigurement and she really is beautiful. She has NO complaints, even though she is in constant pain. She feels NO sadness for herself, even though it's very hard for her to walk and do other daily things. She feels SO much love for so many people and talks about everyone as if they hung the moon. She even gave so much grace to the nurse, who during one of her recent surgeries threw away the bones (!!!) that her doctor was supposed to be putting back into her finger after he removed them to do some work. (Sorry if that was TMI!). While I was there she got a phone call from a veterinarian that she has never even met and, to make a long story short, offered to pay for someone's vet bill if they can't afford it--all the Dr. needs to do is call her. She is just that kind of person. (She wasn't scammed...she contacted the vet first).
Ok so that's the first thing--I was just so unexpectedly inspired by this beautifully fragile, yet strong, human being who has so little in terms of physical ability, yet is thankful for so much.
The second thing that struck me, and is the main reason I wanted to post this as our date, is about the love that J has for L. He outright pursued and chose her when she was unable to even move in bed. She couldn't do a thing for him and he, at that time, had to do everything for her. And now, everything he does, is still for her. He works only so he can provide for her and make her happy. Every word that comes out of his mouth about her is praise for her. Not in a sickening way, because really, she is that wonderful. But he just LOVES her with generosity, humility and true selflessness. And honestly...looking at him, and even hearing him talk about other things, you wouldn't expect it. He is a Jersey Guy, right down to a diamond stud in each ear. :) I really wish I had heard his side of the story about why and how he chose her, but maybe some day.
L credits J with a lot of her recovery and current stability. Her doctors say she is in a state of remission and hasn't gotten any worse in recent years and some things have gotten better. Dan and I had a lot to talk about during our drive back to PA from NJ last night. We both learned a lot. I think True Love helped her heal and it's so inspiring to see what they are doing for each other--and many other people-- through the simple testimony of their life lived with so much gratitude.
(Our next date will be less serious.....I promise). :)