Welcome 2016. In the middle of downtown Austin, at the Auditorium Shores, right on the edge of the Colorado river with the skyline as our backdrop, my son and wife held hands and danced to the live music playing 200 ft. away from us. A wall of people staring at the skyline waiting on the eventual fireworks extravaganza were forced to watch a random family twist, spin, laugh, and dance as if there weren't thousands of people around. In the crisp darkness of a fading 2015, I couldn't think of a better way to release 2015 and welcome in 2016.
That moment wouldn't be possible without marriage.
That's the best thing about marriage. A genuine one - defined as two people who attempt to service the everyday needs and wants of another grown human for the rest of their lifetime - will enhance, enrich, and quite literally expand the amount of love in a person's life...exponentially.
Every new year. Every birthday passed. Every holiday season on the books. Every new life. A memory book of love. What on this earth could possibly be better?
A good marriage is the definition of fortune.
There's two sides to every coin, because every single thing in this world has a cost.
Fortune isn't possible without despair.
A few years ago,
after another great night out with some good friends in Atlanta, we all decided to head back to our friend's house to keep the evening going with our usual patio hookah and cocktails. When the four of us were together, good memories were always the outcome. As I drove us through historic Dekalb my phone rang. My oldest brother was on the other line.
"Isom, I have some bad news."
"Wsup, man? Tell me."
[I can hear the laughter in the car from the ongoing background shenanigans.]
"Chris is dead. He committed suicide."
"What?........................Suicide? What are you talking about?"
[the car fell silent]
I pulled over. I heard the story of how they found his body. His two kids didn't see him. Thank goodness.
His two kids...
My wife and I flew to Texas for the funeral. My poor step-mother. My poor poor step-mother. She always had my brother and I, but Chris was her very own. It broke my heart to see her hurting so deeply.
We all took our time in the viewing room. I truly believe if Chris was able to see how many people came out to pay their final respects, he never would do what did. But to think that is to take away from the demons of depression he was not equipped to handle alone. So I try not to think about it. That day we all took our time as death is always the loudest reminder of how precious time truly is. We all took our time - except my wife. She found herself unable to enter the viewing room due to her uncomfortableness with death and the deceased. She simply "can't do it" as I remember.
Anyone who knows me knows I'm not one to make another grown adult do anything.
I remember seeing my brother's lifeless shell and feeling alone in a room full of people. Very selfishly thinking how I wished my wife was there with me in my time of despair. I remember it making me feel proud that I was raised without a mother because I already knew how to live life without a woman in it. The memory created a deep mental division I'm not sure I've ever gotten past. I have to live with that.
That's the worst thing about marriage. The extreme highs are only possible through the extreme lows. Most of us can't trudge through the low.
10 years later
The new year seems sweet on my horizon. I'm excited about our goals. I'm excited we both want to grow in the same direction both for our family and also for our businesses. I'm glad we talk business with one another. What's a marriage but a partnership in life? So many people choose the wrong partner. So many people can't grow together. So many more simply don't really care while living under the farce that they do.
Be married doesn't make you real.
I find myself already looking forward to New Year's Eve 2016 on the horizon of 2017 reflecting on what we got right, wrong, how we can do better, how we're blessed to get another year to try again, and what songs will our family be dancing to? I bet it's something by Chance the Rapper.