Be like a child tasting chocolate for the first time. Lessons from an ancient man.
For the last ten years I’ve witnessed an elderly man age in front of me, and every time I see him he teaches me a gentle lesson – or two!
When I have a rare day off from work, I often end up on the Level 5 food hall at Westfield Shopping Centre, Bondi Junction. It’s a pleasant place to eat your lunch and enjoy the sun and the views of Sydney Harbour.
And every time I am here, he is here. I know he comes here every day because I have asked the table cleaners. He catches his local bus with his walking frame and his books. He comes here to read.
Not with a mobile phone or a tablet or a lap top but his precious, beloved books. He is extremely old. He must be well over ninety because you can see the sunlight glowing through his translucent, paper thin skin.
So old, but full of life. Peaceful. Content. Joyous.
One day closer to his passing but one day closer to his gift. He has so much more nobility and respect than I will ever achieve. As I munch on my mediocre salad, nursing my well earned anxiety, I curse and moan about a wasted day off. The car tyre I needed to change was not in stock. The mobile phone screen I ordered had not arrived. Does this world know how busy and structured I need to be?!
Yet still ‘they’ annoy me and interrupt me and disappoint me….Me….ME….MEE…..
It seems my anxiety churns at me if I am at work or at rest.
Yet, I watch this ancient, old man reading his book through thick spectacles and a magnifying glass, as his walking frame stands sentinel by his side. I can tell he is at peace because he is devouring each sentence like a child tasting chocolate for the first time.
Not once does he look up from his book. He is completely absorbed and fascinated by the magnificent words bouncing through and around his fabulously stimulated mind.
Then, when I have decided that my precious day has been ruined, and I sigh at an imaginary foe in my head, I finally experience the grace that he wakes up with every day. I see the boy. I experience the boy.
So, I stop and breathe and listen to the silence, and HE speaks to me:
‘Treat every day like tasting chocolate for the very first time.’
Lessons from an ancient man;
1) Acceptance. We are who we are.
2) Grace is not something to achieve. It is always present.
3) Don’t work against life. Move with life.
4) Death is inevitable. Make the most of each day.
5) Daily gratitude.