The genius of the Humans of New York Facebook page and website is that it shines a spotlight on people at their most honest; most real. It captures our commonality and our shared humanity in ways that are unexpectedly beautiful and often painfully raw.
The latest installment features a gentleman photographed holding up a copy of Shakespeare's sonnets. He opens his heart, talking about his wife, who, after 62 years of marriage, passed away last year.
He perfectly describes love.
It's not that he offers any huge philosophical insights into the nature of our affections or the human heart, nor is it that he articulates anything terribly poetic or profound.
His description is perfect because of its smallness, because it glimpses the importance of the tiny things, the things that would seem mundane or quaint to an onlooker, but that, over a lifetime, sweeten every minute between two people.
Read it here, and pay careful attention to the last few sentences.
"My wife passed away last January. We'd been married for 62 years. You caught me at a time when I've been thinking a lot about love because I'm reading Shakespeare's sonnets. The definition of love is elusive, which is why we write about it endlessly. Even Shakespeare couldn't touch it. All the greatest love stories just seem to be about physical attraction. Romeo and Juliet didn't know if they liked the same books or movies. It was just physical.
After 62 years, it becomes something different entirely. My wife used to say: 'We are one.' And believe me, she was not the type of person to overstate something.
Now that she's gone, I realize how right she was. So much of our lives were linked. We were very physical and affectionate. But we also shared every ritual of our life. I miss her every time I leave a movie and can't ask for her opinion. Or every time I go to a restaurant and can't give her a taste of my chicken. I miss her most at night. We got in bed together at the same time every night."
The things he mentions at the end are gone forever.
Remember that when you see your significant other tonight.
Remember that these moments that sweeten our lives are fragile and that no day, no hour, no minute, no second should ever be taken for granted.
Remember that you only have this love, right here, right now.