Are You Going To Drink From The Water Of Life?
This is my cousin, Terry. He is 80 years old, lives in Ireland, and rides horses on beaches. His energy is palpable; can’t you see it in this picture? His love for life is contagious. And, his love for those he loves is deep and sincere. To know him is to want to be around him. He is a force.
Life has not always been easy for him, but still, he finds the magic in it. He cared for his son and his wife as each passed away from a degenerative disease, and you would think that he won the lotto because he was lucky enough to be there for them.
Do you see how life can beat people down? How people can get crotchety? This man doesn’t get old in those ways. He changes, he morphs, he flows, he grows old, but he stays fresh. Sure, some of it is health, and for that, he is lucky. But, much of his health he makes for himself by golfing (and when I golfed with him, he didn’t use a cart! That is a lot of walking!) and pure positivity. He doles out love and smiles easily, and the giving of those things has nothing to do with luck at all.
I hope his life skills are genetic and that those genes have traveled across the sea into my bloodline. I believe it’s more than just his genes, though. I believe he chooses to turn toward the magic of life. He is not shallow, so it’s not that life doesn’t cut him deep. He is profound and he still finds the beauty. He stands up proudly with all of the gifts and the losses he’s faced and rides on.
Years ago, we were visiting him in Ireland and he took us on a hike up a mountain (everything’s a mountain to a Midwesterner) with a waterfall. My mom stopped in the middle and asked if she really needed to keep going to the top. After all, she said, the view was just beautiful where she stood and what was left of the hike to the top was no joke. From up ahead of us, Terry yelled, “But, Maureen, it’s the top. Of course it’s worth it. Keep going now!” We all trudged on and he was absolutely right. It was beautiful up there. It was much more than the view from earlier and it was worth it.
On our way down, we stopped at the waterfall huffing and sweating, but happy that we’d done it. My mom told him that he was right to tell her to keep going; it was worth it at the top. He scooped his hands down into the water into a makeshift bowl to bring to his mouth and he asked us all, “Are you going to drink from the water of life?” Let me tell you, when he is with you, that question is not rhetorical. When you are with him, you absolutely will drink from the water of life and you’ll be better off for it.
P.S. My daughter fed me the line below about the trees dancing, so I’m not so much a writer here as I am a thief of a 3-year-old’s and 80-year-old’s worldview. Whatever works.
Are You Going To Drink From The Water of Life?
I have so much advice
that no one wants to hear;
I have oodles of conspiracy theories,
but everyone closes their ears.
I have plenty of time,
but I like to keep my schedule;
I want to stay youthful,
but I can’t change my ways.
Unless I can.
Unless I do.
Unless I leave
crotchety behind and
turn towards the magic.
Do you see the trees dance when the wind blows?
Can you hear the music when the waves crash ashore?
Do you drink from the water of life?
Will you stand up with
instead of bend over from
the weight of the years before?