Every year, we spent the summer camping at the German Baltic Sea. Most of the people here know each other – intentionally or unintentionally – at least by sight. It’s a compact and manageable campsite with an almost familial atmosphere that makes it basically impossible to avoid each other.
Anyone who has ever spent some time at a campsite will know that it won’t take long for a certain momentum to develop: People from different backgrounds live in a relatively small space together and soon begin to observe each other. Most of these observations are of minor importance and primarily serve as daily entertainment and gossip – activities that a lot of campers almost passionately devote their time to. Until then I had amused myself by simply noticing the dedication and effort people put into not only watching one another but literally gawking at each other. Usually, we were out for the day, sometimes only coming back for food and sleep. Walking past those who were already sitting in front of their caravans at half past seven in the morning and – their folding chairs neatly placed next to another – observing the morning events was amusing, if not alarming.
The days came and went until one evening – we were just about to have dinner, I saw an old couple that has, in a way, changed everything; a couple I have told many people about ever since and because the mere thought of that first moment still puts a smile on my face today, I want to share this story with you, too.
Hand in hand the two slowly walked up the rocky pathway towards the bathroom facilities, their toilet bags dangling from their free hands. They seemed fragile as they moved forward, patiently placing one foot in front of the other, but radiated peace of mind and contentment. Feeling like I had been drawn into a precious moment of intimacy that I wasn’t exactly entitled to be a part of, I remained unable to turn my gaze away from them.
While I wasn’t primarily waiting to see them again I was still secretly hoping for another encounter. I saw them again a couple of times throughout the following days. Each time they walked past us, their hands entwined and supporting each other, I felt the same warm and fuzzy feeling inside – a feeling that I call bliss, confidence, enthusiasm, and hope today. Bliss because two people have realised what is important in life: they embodied honesty. Completely unaware of what they were doing, they set an enriching example of love, companionship and faith. Confidence for seeing two people who belong together, who had once found each other and who were still living a happy and fulfilled life in old age. Enthusiasm because there is love that lasts forever; love that doesn’t break under the pressure of the fast-moving society that we live in today and hope – that one day, everyone will experience the importance of community and a life based on relationships.
It’s people like them who give me inspiration and joy. They make me happy to be alive; to be a piece of the puzzle that makes up this world.
We only get this one life. It is too short to be wasted on negative thoughts. Our lives, I believe, are beautiful once we are willing to see the beauty that we are surrounded by; beauty that sweeps us off our feet like a wave of euphoria – liberating and full of opportunities.
If I saw the old couple again today I would walk up to them. I would walk up to them and thank them for those moments of sheer bliss that they have given me.