Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lesson for a Lifetime

It was an odd time for a “Hi, how ya doing?” phone call. 

Thanks to caller ID, I knew who was calling and I didn’t want to pick up the phone. 

Just four weeks earlier a friend had a stroke. Since then, I kept it quiet and prayed for a good outcome.  I prayed for supernatural healing. 

And now – at this odd time - the phone was ringing.  I didn’t want to hear the message.
I tentatively picked up the phone and listened anyway.

 “He’s gone, darling”. 

Death is waiting out there for all of us. I know that. Still, there are the questions that come with it: Why now? Why him? WHY?

While death is not new to me - nearly everyone of my parents’ siblings are gone, as are cousins, contemporaries and friends. And every time, I have the same shocked reaction.

What I have learned (and frankly, I am a work in progress, so have patience with me) is that sometimes we don’t get to know why. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. And that just plain sucks.

And when I feel that forlorn sick feeling rising from my gut and heading up my throat, I go back to remembering the happy times I shared with my friend, my family.   

It was just this past March that I met Ray. He was a giant of a man and had a personality that was larger than life.  Although he was more than 90 years old, he was as full of life as anyone I have ever met. The joy for life just poured out of him whether we were talking about ice cream or about painting (his life’s passion).

Immediately the divine connection with he and his wife happened. We clicked.  Really clicked. 

And now, his wife calls me with this news. 

As I sit at this keyboard, I wish I had answers that would bring peace, love and light. That somehow the answers would come with the click of my magic shoes.

But I don’t. 

There are times when we just endure.  The sharp sting eventually dulls, but never goes away.  It becomes a manageable, dull pain That’s when you can again smile and remember the good times. 

Ray, in our short sweet relationship, taught my family some invaluable lessons.  At 92, he was still actively working, living and celebrating life.  He was so full of energy and gregariousness that he seemed to defy Father Time.  But no matter what, he just had one simple rule:

Get up every morning excited. 

About what…well that’s up to you. But feel passionate about something – anything – and pour yourself into it.  That’s what keeps you young and what makes the time we do get so worthwhile. 

If you make mistakes along that road, he said, don’t worry about it. Your passion will keep you moving forward. That’s how you learn. 

And I can still picture him – with a twinkle in his eye – urging us again, only with even more conviction and energy.

 “Get up excited about your life and what you are doing!”

Geez, Ray, I’m not sure I can do that today, still reeling from the phone call.

Tomorrow, I will get up excited about my life. Today, I just want to sit and remember.

Man, you’re a tough act to follow. 

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