I saw her from across the room . She was at a power lunch at Michaels restaurant, a holiday lunch for women, Her skin was creamy and pale. Her nose was the kind people get surgery to have. It was perfect. Her hair was a blond, grey, like cornsilk. It was pulled back. Her jewelry was big, bold and gold. If she had wrinkles I never noticed them. It was her light that drew me to her. Vera had a glow like nothing I had seen before. She looked like a silent film star of the early twenties. My guess is she was over 70. I wanted to know her. She must have thought I was crazy.
When the lunch was over I went to the bathroom and there she was. I locked eyes with Vera and told her how stunningly beautiful she was. She hugged me. She said “I keep hearing that and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I am content," she said with a sweet, simple, half smile. I asked her how she got that way, "to be so content and to radiate such vitality, is a gift," I said. “What you have is something most of us are looking for. What is that?" " Then she told me her story.
"I came to this country at ten with my mother. We were immigrants from another country, Hungary. I worked, I got married and then I got divorced. After ten years of being single, I decided, I don’t want to do that again. Being single was a bad experience. So was my first marriage."
After ten years of being single and working, her life changed. She met the man she would fall in love with. She waited 4 years for him to be free, to marry. That was over 42 years ago. She said "the real key to being happy in life, love and it is giving, always give back to your partner.” With love, I thought, looking at Vera, anything is possible.
It was a simple lesson. Powerful that it came during this holiday season. Vera inspired. To me she was a symbol of hope to all who are 'In search of' something to make them happy. She owned it just by being. She owned it by sharing her story with a stranger.
So In the spirit of my friend Vera, I wish you all an everlasting light, that guides you. A light that reflects that part inside of all of us that is most profound and basic, I wish you all, a Happy New Year and the gift of love and giving in your life's journey.