A reminder to live your best life
Last week I was stuck in Chicago at the airport. Over the course of many hours were repeated announcements holding promise of departure in another 90 minutes. With each announcement, I grew more frustrated and as it got later I realized I better grab some food before everything shut down for the night. I approached a bar that appeared open with several people eating and drinking and slid into the first open stool.
The bartender walked over and I asked him if I could order some food. He apologized explaining that the kitchen had closed and also added that it was also last call. I hadn’t planned on drinking being exhausted and still two hours ahead of me before boarding time, but decided that a glass of red couldn’t hurt. I asked him if he had any cabernet to which he nodded and turned to pour me a very generous portion in to a small plastic cup. Still angry and staring at my phone, I barely noticed him slip the cup towards me atop a few cocktail napkins. Further immersed in my own misery, I began to sense him looking at me. When I met his gaze, I realized he was standing there holding the bottle of wine awaiting my approval. If you have ever been to a nice restaurant, you know the waiter’s stance as he cradles your wine selection for your viewing and waits for your first sip and nod of approval.
But I was sitting in an airport bar far from fine dining and not even able to order a meal. Yet there he was, patiently and politely holding the bottle on display. With no intention of giving up despite my obvious distraction and negative attitude, he simply asked, “Is it ok?”
When I looked closer at the bottle, I was overcome with a settling feeling. The kind you get when someone walks up behind you and lays their hands on your shoulders. The feeling of safety, strength and unconditional love. The label on that bottle read “Anthony’s Hill”. As my eyes filled with tears, I replied, “Yes, that’s perfect.”
A good friend told me recently that recently that saying goodbye is not for those we have lost; it is for those who are still living. If we live distracted, afraid and unaware of the blessings around us, we aren’t living at all. Auntie was more here in this life than anyone I’ve ever met. He was never too busy for you. He was never so absorbed in his own distress that he didn’t share in yours. He came to the airport that night to share something with me that he wants you all to know.
An author said in an interview I saw that the last thing our parents teach us is how to die, but Auntie wants to teach us something about how to live. He wants us to live with all of our attention and our whole hearts. This how we keep him alive in each of us.