by Keith Darcy
On June 17, 1972 I married the love of my life.
We met in college when I was a senior and she a freshman. It was love at first sight. I was immediately smitten by Lynne, a beautiful brunette filled with sunshine, unbridled joy, and optimism. It was at a time when my world was shrouded by darkness and seemingly without hope. I was quickly drawn to her radiance. There was an energy I had never witnessed or experienced before, or since. She was fully alive, while I was struggling through significant first family dysfunctions and rejection.
We were both young, innocent, with visions of an exciting journey together. Little did Lynne or I know how chaotic the road would be that lay ahead of us. Despite all the family wars to be fought, Lynne was constantly leading us to embrace all that life has to offer. She was never deterred, always hopeful that something positive would emerge just around the corner. Notwithstanding all of my doubts and negativity, she made me believe that anything and everything in life was and is possible. To this day she remains a constant, a rock in a world that had been ever changing and challenging around us. Her presence is fully ennobling.
As a youngster and teenager, I was shy, afraid of rejection (a natural development from having been emotionally abandoned and abused by my family). I dated very little during my formative years. I imagined that, perhaps someday in my late thirties, I might settle down with someone, who, like me, shared the awkwardness of searching for a mate. I never envisioned that love, real love, was something I would experience. I didn’t know what it was. And then, this beautiful brunette in a mini-skirt landed in my lap – and fifty years later continues to walk with me and illuminate the road ahead.
Trying to find words to describe Lynne does not easily capture her essence.
First and foremost, she has always been the greatest wife, mother, best friend, and love of my life.
As mother of our children, Lynne did everything for our kids. She created an art box for Erin and set up a drum set for Tim, encouraging their creativity. She planted flowers with them in the spring, swam with them in the summer, played in piles of leaves in the fall, and built snowmen in the winter. When it rained, she painted their faces, took them everywhere they needed to be, and gave them unconditional love. She was there, always there, even when I wasn’t, physically or emotionally.
Without Lynne, my life most certainly would have been entirely different. David Brooks wrote in his book, The Social Animal, “Ultra-motivated people are driven by a deep sense of existential danger. They often meet someone who shows them the way, and who fires their sense of possibilities.” It was Lynne who orchestrated my salvation from an emotional dungeon.
She supported all my career decisions, including the many bad decisions I made. I can’t imagine what she thought when I decided to go to seminary in my mid-30’s and, later, when I told her I wanted to quit a successful career in banking to embark on a journey in a then non-existing profession in business ethics. She never hesitated. During that time there were over two years where I earned less than $40,000 collectively, which was especially painful and financially punitive at a time when Erin was going off to college. She remained my rock. I remember that night in a restaurant on M Street in D.C. when she asked me if I wanted to quit my prestigious position at Georgetown and return to New York. She was enjoying her experience living in Washington, D.C. immensely, and teaching at The National Cathedral School. She could see, however, that I felt defeated and depressed. Once again, she subordinated her needs and interests to mine.
Ten days before her fiftieth birthday, I was sitting in my home office and was inspired to write an article about her. When finished, I neatly put it in an envelope and mailed it to a local newspaper. What follows is an excerpt from that article written 21 years ago.
The person who has had the greatest influence on my life is my wife and sweetheart, Lynne. In June 2020 we will be married 29 years. She entered my life 32 years ago as a college freshman, jumping on my lap as I sat in the passenger seat of an open Jeep on campus and introducing herself. She was simply adorable, had legs all the way up to her neck, and a smile that radiated through me. I never felt such an energy and life force in my life. It was this energy that eventually carried me out of the darkness of a home plagued by alcoholism. She showed me that I could have a life worth living.
I have learned many things over the years from Lynne. She believes life is not something you plan in advance, but an adventure to be lived every day with new possibilities ever present. Flat tires, interruptions, and job loss open different paths to be explored.
The poet David Whyte wrote, “You’ll know you’re on the path (to happiness) when the path in front of you disappears.” Lynne has lived on the Path of Life for as long as I’ve known her. She has long espoused that life is the gift we have been given. What we do with our life is our gift in return. As the Buddha observed, “The Great Way is not difficult. Only do not make distinctions. Take away the likes and dislikes. Then everything is perfectly clear.”
Given this clarity about life, Lynne has an astonishing sense of truth and lives in it. Her grounded-ness, and the exciting possibilities of abrupt change, allows her not to live in some delusion of the present or future. The truth is the truth. It is both compelling and disarming and, to some that live outside reality, possibility threatening. In all, it is part of the life force that Lynne exudes.
Lynne has a child-like innocence. She sees the world as simple and fundamentally good. She lights up observing the spontaneity of children, animals, birds, and people. The beauty of sunsets, full moons, storm clouds, and snow mesmerizes her. She gasps at the majesty of mountains and the song of the river. She sees the reflections, hears the acoustics, and understands the rhythm of life as no one I have ever known.
Because of Lynne, I can now see every leaf on every tree, enjoy the taste of pancakes, inhale the smell of church, feel the dew on the grass, and experience perpetual dawns. I am no longer at war with the world. I am in love.
For 32 years, Lynne has, through the sacrament of presence, taught me the joy of living. “Tomorrow is a new day. I wonder what adventure will be in store for us,” she constantly proclaims I have never met a more beautiful person in my life, inside and out. She is a generous, caring, loving person. I truly believe there was divine intervention when Lynne came into my life. I have been extraordinarily blessed in this, our shared journey.
I haven’t always been easy to live with. But, then again, no one said life would be easy. We’ve grown old(er) together and gotten used to each other. We finish each other’s sentences and read each other’s mind. At this stage of my life, however, I never take for granted how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest person I have ever known.
Lynne’s the one that could always see the light, especially when I couldn’t. She still fascinates and inspires me and remains the number one earthly reason for my existence. We are now married 50 years. I cannot imagine a life without her. I am saddened only by the realization that someday it is likely I will leave this life before her (the women in her family live forever). Despite that, I know the day will come thereafter when I will be re-united with a beautiful brunette, who will greet me and will then jump in my lap, and we will live eternally in love, forever.
Lynne Darcy, I am madly in love with you, have been since the moment I saw you, and will always be.
Proverbs 31: 10-11
Who can find a good woman?
She is precious beyond all things.
Her husband’s heart trusts her beyond all things.
She is his best reward.
“There are souls in this world who have the gift of finding joy in everything and leaving it behind them when they go.”
Frederick William Faber