You never know when inspiration will appear. Just the other day, two big doses came my way.
I was having lunch with my buddy Neil. His wife had passed from cancer a few years back, a sad event indeed. Neil recently had remarried, so I was eager to hear his news. Turns out he married a long time friend. She and her husband were dear friends of Neil and his wife; they even traveled together. Her husband died shortly after Neil’s wife died. One day Neil happened to mention to her that he was taking a trip. She he said, “I’ll go with you,” and the rest is matrimony history.
If that doesn’t pluck your heartstrings, there’s more to the story that will. Neil’s new wife had a daughter with two children. The daughter died and the father had long stepped out of the picture. Some families are small, some are big. Neil’s wife’s family errs on the small side. In fact, she and the other grandmother are the children’s only living relatives. So at age 86, my buddy Neil and his wife are raising a ten-year-old and a twelve-year-old. When called on to be saints, some people willingly and without complaining, rise to the occasion.
As Neil and I parted ways, a man who had been dining next to our table came up to me.
“I couldn’t help but overhear that you’re a writer,” he said. He explained that his mother is an avid reader. At age 103, she devours books and has a mind that is as sharp as when she was fifty. His mother happened to be in the restroom, so I waited around to meet her. Pretty soon, her she came with her walker. Her son introduced us.
“I know your name,” she said. “Didn’t you write a book with your sister?” She proceeded to say that she still owned it and even told her son where it was in the house. “Where can I get your other books?” she asked.
“I keep some in the back of my car,” I said.
She wanted them inscribed. I explained that a new book is worth the cover price, but as soon as I scratched it up, it would dip in value. She chuckled and her son handed me a pen.
It was an honor to send her home with those books. We all face our mortality, but it’s inspiring when you see someone, who has lived longer than most, face it with grace and with the eagerness to learn something new each day.