Every few years Laurie and I go to Ashland, Oregon with Julie, a college friend to enjoy a few plays at the Shakespeare festival. We often tie in a short rafting trip and other excursions in the southern Oregon countryside. In the early years of this tradition we traveled with Julie’s parents.
When Julie’s mother came down with Alzheimer’s and was no longer able to travel, her father still made the trip down with us, and sometimes went on his own.
One day Laurie asked me, “If I got sick or died, would you still go to the Shakespeare festival?”
I responded without hesitation: “No.”
“You don’t enjoy it?”
“Yes, I do enjoy it, but a big part of it is spending time with you. If you were gone I’d probably go hiking or visit some interesting city.”
She was disturbed by my response. “I feel terrible that you’re coming just because of me.”
“That’s not it. I enjoy it and know you like it. But if I was on my own there are other things I’d rather do.”
She barely paused before responding, “I understand perfectly.”
It’s really not so much of a sacrifice. But there are things we do because we know that it gives the other pleasure and we treasure the time we spend together.