Sources of Joy: Happy 45th Birthday, Mike Lowenstein!

I’ve seen a decent number of grooms in my life, but I’ve never seen one more bursting with joy than my brother Mike on the day in early October last year when he married Annie.

Every possible description you could give to describe someone consumed with love for the woman to whom he was about to make a public commitment applied to Mike on that day.

“I never saw Michael so happy,” Mom said afterward.

Me, neither.

Today, Mike turns 45 years old.

Dunreith, Aidan and I called and sang to him.

We chatted briefly about their plans for the evening-a massage, spa and tasty dinner awaited-and the time we’ll all spend together in March.  We joked and discussed the possibility of Aidan spending the summer out there interning for Annie’s start-up company.

Mostly, we let him know through song, word and gesture that we loved him.

Mike’s pleasure in his life and in his bride crackled through the line.

After listing the litany of physical ailments he’s got-a bum hip and stress fracture in his foot topped the list-he added, “But I’m married to Annie.

“We’re newlyweds,” he said later.

Indeed they are.

Mike’s birthday and newlywed status provide yet another reminder of the major limitations in, if not impossibility of, predicting the future (I can easily tick off a dozen aspects of the call and our lives that I would never have thought would turn out the way they have.).

But it also marks an occasion to weave another strand in my ties to the brother I’ve known as long as I have memory, and to be lifted after a long and hard day at my work by the joy he feels in his life.

2 responses to “Sources of Joy: Happy 45th Birthday, Mike Lowenstein!

  1. As a parent when sons have become men, all we can do is wait and watch as they create their lives. It’s very easy for me, as I watch, to become impatient with how long something takes. People grow in the ways that are right for them. It takes the time it takes. Nobody from the outside can know. As I watched Michael’s joy at his wedding, as I watched how happy everyone who loves him was, how happy everyone who loves Annie was, I understood the value of thinking, waiting until you can do something that is completely right. You know because your body tells you. You trust yourself because you’ve considered every aspect of going down this road.

    The more one of my sons is happy, the happier I am. The more one of my sons learns about himself, so he knows what his life is about, the less I have to be concerned about him. Whatever we feel strongly, we attract the same feelings from others. if we are angry, we have angry friends. We feel comfortable with angry thinking. If we are terrified, we do not see possibilities. We surround ourselves with those who also cannot see.

    Not only am I happy that Michael and Annie are happy, that everyone who came to the wedding was happy, but also that Jeff is joyful that his brother was filled with joy. Every day I wake up grateful to be alive. Every day I know is a gift, a gift from God and all those strangers who worked to keep me alive. I have the life I’m living because my sons believed in me. They believed I could learn the skills I had lost. They knew I could learn whatever I chose to learn.

    My sons helped me learn. I watch them learn. I watch everyone around them learn. All of us assume we can learn. We know that tomorrow we will know a little bit more than we knew today. No matter what we know today, there is always so much to learn. We are joyful that we can. We are joyful that we are able to change ourselves and our lives. It gives us joy when we see someone we love change their life to include love and sharing.

    The more we are alone, the more we become accustomed to listening to our own thoughts without someone thinking in a different way. It takes courage to bring someone close to you. I am happy that all of us, including me, are aware of how much we need someone we love to share our lives with.

    The biggest blessing I have is that each of the people in my family shares their lives, their thinking and their dreams with me, as I do with them. When Ed and I began, we were only two people. Now, we are eight people and growing. Carrying a dream alone is a heavy burden. Carrying dreams with someone you love is a joy.

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