Three lessons today, God. Hmmm.
OK. I think I got the message.
I haven’t exactly been a stellar wife lately. As I’ve noted before, this Type A gal tends to be high on crabby and low on patience. God knows I need a lesson in gratitude.
Lesson # 1
I saw John. He was a shell of his former self. My tall, strapping island neighbor sat in a walker seat on the parking lot next to the dock. His immense hands were folded across the shrunken chest. John is my teaser, the big guy with a broad smile.
John usually towers above my five-foot-one. I love to spar with him, but I haven’t seen him in awhile. I shouted my greeting and ran over to give him a big hug.
John and I have known each other for years. He’s cooked me Frogmore Stew. He’s taught me how to tell tall tales and bet in the casino. But today, John is faded and frail.
I teased and he teased back, catching his breath as he talked. His eyes twinkled in the sunken shallows of a drawn face. I stood beside his walker while his wife got the golfcart.
“We’ve been off island to write our will,” she shouted over her shoulder.
“I did it right,” John told me resolutely. Then he gazed at the water. “My leg is numb,” he said. “Every day, something else,” he said.
I patted John’s back and put a hand on his shoulder.
John stood with great effort and could barely move when his wife brought the cart. “Bye bye!” I shouted after them as they drove the puddled path in the rain.
This, I think, may be the last time I see my island friend. Thank you, God for making this rendezvous possible. I’m grateful.
My friend reposted it on Facebook: a stunning photo of Liam Neesen and his late wife, Natasha Richardson – big stars, both of them. Beyond the star sparkle, however, was a written lesson in gratitude. Liam could not have expressed it better:
“They say the hardest thing in the world is losing someone you love. Someone you grew old with and watched grow everyday. Someone who showed you how to love. It’s the worst thing to ever happen to anyone. My wife died unexpectedly. She brought me so much joy. She was my everything. Those 16 years of being her husband taught me how to love unconditionally. We have to stop and be thankful for our spouses. Because, life is very short. Spend time with your spouses. Treat them well. …Tell the ones you love, that you love them everyday. Don’t take any moment for granted. Life is worth living.” – Liam Neesen
Then…the third lesson.
Harold drove his pickup truck and chattered enthusiastically about retirement and motorcycle riding. One January day when northern snowstorm threats caused us to catch an early flight out of Florida, Harold came through – speeding his way to our neighborhood to whisk us away. “I’ll get ya there on time,” he said.
In the evening on the island, I texted Harold a cheery text about providing a round trip pickup to the airport.
I did not expect this reply:
Horror of horrors! Our trusted Lyft driver had passed away. I felt foolish and caught off guard as I texted his wife my condolences and words of encouragement. She responded:
”He was very very special. My heart is broken and I miss him terribly.”
Pat’s pain reached through the phone. I wanted to hug her…to make everything all right. But all I could do was speak to her sadness via cell. It seemed a shallow gesture, but Pat humbly expressed gratitude.
Grateful. – Three Lessons in one day, Lord.
I think I get it. I need to make some changes.
We dried off and then, in a rare moment for me, I sat silently on the couch with Brad to watch movies.
I watched Brad’s Westerns without complaining. He let me sit beside him without tickling me. – It’s the little things.
Don’t take them for granted. They might slip away…in an illness…in an accident…in a heartbeat.
Sometimes you just have to settle into your little island of life and appreciate what you have… before it’s gone. .