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Tricenarian

Written by one adoring husband, unbeknownst to Preethi

“Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood; . . .
And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
To the wide world and all her fading sweets; . . .
Yet, do thy worst, old Time: despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live young.”
Wm Shakespeare - Sonnet 19

Some fear the passage of time.  I don’t blame them.  Fear thrives in the soil of misunderstanding.

Some do their best to ignore the passage of time – hoping, perchance, that ignorance blunts its effects.   I don’t question their motives.

Some live so time’s passage is as welcome as the scent of dew-kissed lavender from a sunrise bike ride; a heartful of gratitude, no regrets in sight, and nothing but optimism for what may come.



Preethi lives in just such a way.

A Heartful of Gratitude


Cicero and Pres. Uchtdorf had it right.  Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes.  In Preethi’s case, Christlike attributes and beauty.

This is the 14th time that Preethi’s birthday has come since I first met her.  In between and during those birthdays, I’ve heard countless spontaneous bursts of gratitude come from her lips, as if she is discovering radium for the first time:  “I *LOVE* you!” “I *LOVE* Libraries!”  “I *LOVE* Summer!” &c. followed by a listing of reasons she is grateful for those things.

But despite her prowess at spontaneously enumerating her gratitude, I’ve more often seen her gratitude in her circumstance expressed silently, given voice by her actions.

Gratitude for the people in her life through endless service for the young women in our congregation, friends, neighbors, and family.  Gratitude for the day in which we live by drinking deeply from books (sometimes five or six at a time!) and the internet (in its finest forms, of course).  Gratitude for the earth by respectfully exploring its wonders.  Gratitude for time by conscientiously, not hastily, passing her hours.  Gratitude for music by teaching children of its beauty.  Gratitude for the living word of God by studying, living and receiving it daily.

All of this gratitude has sharpened her sense of wonder.  For Preethi, wonder has become an ever-present sixth-sense.  That makes for a glorious, delightful co-pilot on this journey.

This picture typifies Preethi.  Sudden, overpowering rain trapped us under a bus-shelter in Dijon, France.  Rather than complaining at the rain's ability to limit our already-short time in that city, Preethi found this little flower shop to delight in (and beautifully capture).

No regrets

We *love* Arlington.  The people, places, paths, parks – it’s a challenge not to let yourself get too spoiled by it all.  Being a part of Arlington means being part of a greater community, as well as, in many cases, a lesser community known as a condo association.

We apparently have neighbors who are not very fond of small people or people who walk on the grass, as manifest in crusties and anonymous nastygrams on our door.  One such neighbor apparently had a conversation with our property manager on the subject to accuse us.  The property manager re-told me the experience:


Neighbor: “That family that lives upstairs with all those children.  I always see them cut across the grass. . .tell them to stop.”

Property manager: “You mean the lady with the baby on the hip, the toddler by the hand, and a bag of library books? (Editor’s note: Incidentally, I’m not sure that Preethi could concoct a more preferred way to describe herself) I haven't seen them cut across the grass, but I can talk to them anyway just to make sure.”

The property manager did not tell us where the complaint came from, but we knew.  Like a tea bag, we were thrown into hot water on this one.  But, like a tea bag in hot water, this experience revealed Preethi’s strength.

Not long thereafter, Preethi delivered home-made, decorated cupcakes to the door of the complainants.  She was received with skepticism behind a partially-opened door, and allowed the couple to re-air (unsolicited, of course) a few of their complaints (founded or not) and offered the cupcakes.  They declined the treat, and Preethi returned upstairs, still smiling.

No BFFs, but no regrets either.

Optimism


On a recent trip to the Outer Banks, which place is surely counted among Preethi’s many “happy places”, we stopped at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk.  I wish you could have seen the excitement on Preethi’s face when she read the Orville Wright inscription: “Isn’t it astonishing that all these secrets have been preserved for so many years just so we could discover them!”  Explaining the miracle of flight to Nat and Kina, her excitement reverberated like an “amen” from a Southern Baptist choir coupled with the joy of Christmas morning.

Preethi is a realist, to be sure, but 30 birthdays of accentuating the positive have served her tremendously well.

30 wishing lanterns for one very special 30-year-old.

The Next Decade

The most recent decade of Preethi’s life has been kind to us beyond our imagination - marriage, 2.5 children, deep friendships, multiple degrees, six continents, &c.  I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store.  I know my wife will suck the marrow out of it – in the vegetarian sense - whatever comes.

Happy Birthday, Love.

It is not really necessary to look too far into the future; we see enough already to be certain it will be magnificent. Only let us hurry and open the roads. –Wilbur Wright

6 comments

  1. Why aren't there like buttons on here??? Love you, DnPc!

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  2. This is so so fantastic. We are so fortunate to know you both.

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  3. yay for preethi! daniel, great job! loved reading your writing.

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  4. Sweetest tribute! So much love for both of you and your beautiful family!

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  5. This is incredibly sweet and, as far as I've seen, very true to Preethi's essence!

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