礼品之路 ( Lǐpǐn zhī lù ) – The Gift of Zuko

She is my glory.

She is my gift.

She found me 2 decades ago.

Chose to share her life with me.

Allow our hearts to mingle and embrace, until there is no distinction between her heart and mine.

She created our journey.

From Nelson Mandela Bay, on the South Coast of South Africa, to a little Chinese Village on the outskirts of Beijing.

Through Bloemfontein in Central South Africa.

Bray, on the dry banks of the Molopo River, rubbing shoulders with Botswana in the Kalahari Thirstland.

Jiamusi, in the far North of the Far East, where winter reigns for the greatest part of the year and temperatures plummet to -30ºC on most days.

We’ve lived like kings.

We’ve been destitute.

We’ve had abundance.

And we’ve had so very little we did not know where we would find the food to feed our family dinner.

We’ve tasted deep loss.

And we’ve tasted great gain.

We’ve run projects together.

From helping a handful of forgotten soldiers in Pomfret, to publishing a glossy magazine.

We’ve done road-trips.

We’ve visited stunning places and met exquisite people.

And all along she has affected me with her affection.

Enticing me to become.

To be who I am without shame or hesitation.

To be brave and bold, amidst despair.

To be honest.

Following my heart.

Doing what my hand finds to do, wherever we may be.

Her proximity for 20 years a gift which cannot be described.

A long time ago, a wise man said: he who finds a woman who loves him, finds a treasure more valuable than gold.

I did not find this woman.

She found me.

And gave me a life.

The ability to love.

Myself.

And those with whom I share life.

We’ve been parents to four children.

We’ve been friends and family to beautiful beings who, like us, were hungry for friendship and brotherhood which we did not have.

This gift, to share my life with Zuko, is the most beautiful of all the gifts I’ve received along The Way of the Gift.

It is a gift I would encourage anyone to call into their life.

Not marraige.

For many are married and do not have this gift.

Not ‘partnership’ or ‘co-habitation’.

For so many more, choose this, but still do not know this gift.

The gift I would encourage you to call into your life, is the gift of a shared existence.

A completely shared existence.

One in which there is no you & me, but us.

We.

One in which, my failure is our failure and your success is our success.

In which we have or do not have.

In which we do and choose and go and find and lose and build and break.

This is what Zuko has given us.

Togetherness.

Beyond imagination.

A life in which we continually call each other forward.

Continually encourage each other to become.

And so I am grateful.

For my Zuko.

For she is my glory.

Thank you, Zuko.

Thank you for choosing me from amongst all those who hoped to be your companion.

Thank you for allowing me to be a middle aged man who has had a full life.

Who looks forward, with great excitement,  to every day and every adventure enjoyed and still to follow in the footsteps of all the memories.

Thank you for creating me, as we create us.

It is astounding.

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