In September 2006, my adult son lost his father & I lost my husband of over 40 years. One of the things we did to comfort ourselves early on was search for this oasis of tranquility set amongst the frenetic pace of Los Angeles.
Right off the famous Pacific Coast Highway next to Malibu; is a 10 acre site that was founded in 1950 & used as a film set during the silent era.
It wasn't a place to ooh & aah - it was to find peace. Tourists may come; but that's not its purpose.
Known as a non-denominational order that doesn't proselytize; as we wandered towards the end of the woodsy path, we found ourselves sitting inside that musty windmill among other souls who needed the same solace at the same moment in time.
There's no doubt this sanctuary did its part for us; but what I remember most about that day is what I saw as we passed a young man on one knee & his beloved sitting on the lone bench with her life before her waiting for it to begin.
Putting loss in perspective at just the right moment.
A small inward smile graced my face for the first time in a long time.
A smile of hope, purpose & continuity.
On a lighter note - I didn't think of it until I wrote this; but I also was betrothed on a Park Bench - which gives this tale even more serendipity - of course, mine was in downtown Washington, D.C. next to my Gov't building, a hot dog vendor had malodorously just passed & I was on a lunch break!
But it's all good.