given

I was given an angel long before his time and I visit his resting place whenever I need to be centered again. To remind me what life is about. What not to take for granted. What to be grateful for, who needs my prayers.

Today it was not by accident that I met Kenneth. A man of almost 87, “on Thanksgiving day” he told me. I was sitting on the only folding chair I could find on the second floor of the mausoleum, when I heard him coming with a cane, breathing heavily. He looked around pensively for one to settle on when I quickly walked him over mine. His smile was enough-“Are you absolutely sure? Thank you, getting older isn’t easy, ya know”. I nodded, choked up. I told him to treasure the years he’s been given, that it is not a gift awarded to everyone. I told him why I was there and then he told me about his Antoinette. She has been gone for eleven years and he visits her every week. He said she was the love of his life-that they skated together, skied, bowled. “We skied in Germany even, I wanted to show her as much of the world as I could. She was my best friend”. He said his friends would always tease him for carting her everywhere he went..”Is it so bad I wanted her around? She used to hear it too..doesn’t your husband do anything alone?” It was a sweet story to share with a stranger. I was gifted with hearing it. To be reminded of life long love and commitment. Of a man who continues to visit his best friend every week after eleven years. He probably could have gone on for hours. It’s amazing to me the excitement I feel when interacting with perfect strangers. That somehow I’m placed in that exact moment and given a small insight to their story. How if you create just the right amount of comfort there will be something to connect on. Similarities, parallels. To witness that, to see them smile when they speak of someone they love or a time in their life they’re proud of, it’s truly entrances me every single time.  If only I hadn’t been on my lunch..

I will think of Kenneth on his birthday, grateful to have crossed his path.

Along the road of life we aren’t given guarantees or instruction manuals for the most important relationships we share. We are gifted people and moments that can so easily be taken away. We are given chances, faced with challenges, all on someone else’s time.   

Which person are you? The one who gives what you get or gives freely, trusting that somehow it will make it’s way back. That maybe for the greater good it’s best to pay it forward. To be authentic with yourself without apologizing. Every now and then leave some extra love where you wish because it can make the world of difference when it’s received. Go the extra mile. Fight for something you believe in damn it. Don’t be afraid to make a few enemies being true to who you are and what you believe in.  

One thing I’ve learned for sure is that this life is not a dress rehearsal. You’re only getting one. At the end will you feel that you’ve given it your all? If you haven’t already, start now. 

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