My wife and I were married in 2013 after dating for nearly four years. We have a wonderful life together - an amazing son, a great home, two really good jobs.
I know you're expecting one, but there is no "but" coming.
We're planning our first big family vacation for next year. It'll be our son's first time on an airplane, and my wife's first since our honeymoon. I travel semi-regularly for work, so I'm an old expert at flying, specifically on Southwest. Speaking of Southwest, how great are they? More on that in a future post.
The other night I was standing outside on my front porch, having ill-advisedly taken a work call after hours. I was engaged in the conversation when I looked up to the southeast.
Orion's Belt. I recall the first time I knew what I was looking at. It had to have been a good dozen years or so ago. I was in my grandparents' driveway walking back to my car when I looked up and thought about how perfectly aligned those three stars were. I just knew it meant there was a higher power with a clear plan for the universe.
I'd always look up at the arrangement and be in awe.
We were on Saint Lucia in the Windward Islands in late September 2013. It's an island of contrasts - beautifully lush and rich natural topography, incredibly poor cities and towns, top-notch resorts, crumbling infrastructure.
There was one night in particular when we were out late in the pool. We were relaxing, floating around, when I looked to the side and saw Orion's Belt. It wasn't on my mind until I saw it. It struck me that there, over 2,000 miles from home, I could see the exact same three stars.
I pointed it out to my bride and made a promise to her then and there: that whenever I looked up and saw Orion's Belt, regardless of where I was and what I was doing, I'd stop, take a breath, and always remember the two of us floating in a pool on the island of Saint Lucia.
So there I was four years later, 37 degrees at 8:45 PM, on a phone call I shouldn't have taken, looking up at Orion's Belt.