The power of one thing.
What transforms two people into a couple? I’m so fascinated with this question that for the past 30 years I’ve been asking couples to share with me how they met their mate. The latest couple is Bonnie and Pete Wilhite. I especially love that this conversation happened at the Corwith Legion on a Friday evening because I find that the most unlikely places usually host the most unexpectedly profound conversations.
First of all, Bonnie had no idea what Pete was saying. He was animated and the words were pouring out of him like he was a house on fire. Yet, she was oblivious. Oblivious that he was talking about her – them – because Bonnie was across the room. When I asked Pete to tell me about how Bonnie and he met, he shared the story of their first days and weeks together with such attention to detail that, frankly, it was damn impressive. As his memories surfaced and became spoken word, his face glowed and light filled his eyes. These memories are a big deal to him. I don’t mean to get mushy here – Pete’s a no-nonsense kind of man. For example, with a bashful head nod and slight shoulder shrug he told me that on their first date he gave Bonnie a rose because, as he put it, “I just thought that’s what men were supposed to do.” For me, it is his down-to-earth man-style intermingled with his genuine wholeheartedness that made witnessing his story so timelessly beautiful and captivating.
From across the room, I caught Bonnie’s eye, motioned her over, and clued her in to the topic Pete was sharing about. Her. Them. You see, Bonnie had to join this conversation because she, and only she, held the key to unlocking vitally important information. Only she could reveal the past in a way that would bring it forward into the present moment with meaningful significance. Only she could identify what the catalyst was that transformed these two people into a couple. And now, Pete was oblivious.
“What was it about the first time you met Pete that made you think… hmm, I like him,” I asked. A playful, impish smile came over Bonnie’s face as she travelled back through time. Turning toward her husband, gazing up into his eyes, she smiled brightly and said, “He brought me a rose.”
Gasp. “Holy cats! This is a big, effing moment,” I whisper-thought to myself.
“Wow, Pete, did you know that?” I asked as I turned to observe his reaction to what Bonnie had just said. Wide-eyed, incredulously stunned, he looked at his wife, the woman he married 31 years ago, the woman who so greatly enriches his life, and slowly shook his head and softly replied, “No. I just thought that’s what men were supposed to do.”
That’s the power of one thing.
One thing can seem routine and usual, like something you’re just supposed to do. One thing expands its power, creating impact, when it merges with someone beyond the giver. An impact that can be as gentle as a rose petal, and yet unleash an energy and series of events that become more significant as time evolves. For example, I choose to believe that Bonnie and Pete’s great-great grandchildren, those people who will only know them through pictures in a photo album and archived MP4 videos, will be the blessed benefactors of one fateful decision to give one rose.
What one thing has someone done or given you that continues to create long-lasting positive impact, and yet they are unaware how significant their gift has become? How might your relationship deepen if you told them just how meaningful that one thing has been? Do one thing… tell them.
Patti Guenther. A student and facilitator of healing communication because I believe people are worth the risk. I write about what inspires me.
Writer’s note. Thank you, Bonnie and Pete Wilhite, for sharing your story with me, reviewing what I’ve written, and agreeing to let me post it on the internet. Your story inspires me, and I believe sharing it will create a positive impact in our world. Because I respect Bonnie and Pete and their story, additional details they both shared with me that evening are theirs to tell, not for me to disclose. If you want “the scoop” you’ll have to ask them yourself, and they’ll decide what more they choose to share.
© 2019 Patricia S Guenther