originally published on January, 17 2020
I paid for my wife’s engagement ring in two parts 1) on a borrowed loan from my mom and dad, that I eventually paid back, and 2) on a gift from my brother and sister-in-law that I struggled to receive.
I was going to university at the time, living with my dad who was working an expat assignment in Madrid. My mom lived part-time with us and part-time in the States where she was going through chemo-therapy treatments.
My parents had been married 34 years and dad was scheming to surprise mom with a ‘renewing of the vows’ ceremony for their 35th anniversary that summer. I let him know I had an intention to propose to my then girlfriend that summer. And like that we were off adventuring!
Dad had a Belgian business colleague who had a close contact that worked in the diamond district of Antwerp. We flew out of Madrid on a Friday and the following day were set to meet with a wholesaler on a dreary Saturday morning.
If we weren’t aware already, it was clear we were being done a favor when we entered through the security process to meet the sellers. After trying to nickel and dime the father-son duo on stones that we couldn’t afford, we left to join the real world, where we wound up buying rings at one of the largest tourist attracting venues in the city. Afterwards, we went across the street to get haircuts, naturally.
The guy that ran the hair salon, and spoke great English, cut my dad’s hair and translated between me and the woman who cut my hair in the adjacent booth.
I’ve since come to learn that I have a thing for French speaking women and have also discovered that I’m not necessarily unique in this.
The irony of experiencing an intense attraction to the woman cutting my hair that day, minutes after buying an engagement ring for my now wife is not lost on me. Yet, it’s less of a big deal now as I’m no longer as shocked by whatever exaggerated sense of goodness or full-of-sh*tness that I share in as a human being.
As someone who has been religiously encoded with an externalization of a morality of good and bad this is no small means for celebration.
Years later I bailed on an interaction with a French accented woman in sensing the same familiar attraction I experienced that day in the hair salon. Afterwards, searching myself for who I was prior to being conscious of shame, or even just plain less self-conscious, I flashed back to the elementary school playground.
Chasing girls, pulling hair, playing tag.
You were ‘wild,’ and you were ‘sweet’ were the words that echoed in my soul.
Original goodness is always that close, preceding whatever sense of wounded deficiency we may or may not carry.
Remembering is the work of a lifetime.
Luckily, the invitation is extended anew with each passing moment.
Jonathan lives in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas with his wife, dogs and three children. His Wisdom work comes out of a blend of the Christian Contemplative tradition and 4th Way spirituality with a focus on companioning others from the unified and collective field accessed through the heart. He is a life-long seeker who offers private Spiritual Direction in person or by zoom, one-to-one or in groups.