The Cycle of Life

Hank Mattimore
Reproduced with Permission

Some days the good times really do roll. I had one of those experiences recently having coffee at Starbucks after a game of tennis with my tennis bud, 90-year-old Roy. Yes, that's right. This 90 year old guy still plays tennis. In fact, on this day, he was telling me how grateful he is not only to be able to swing a tennis racquet but to go dancing twice a week. He takes singing lessons,too and is learning how to play the piano. Good grief! This man is as ALIVE as a ten year old. His secret. "There's no secret," says Roy, "unless it's just being grateful for life." For this old man, his life wisdom is distilled into one word, gratitude.

I'm drinking in the reflections of the man, even older than I am, when a young mother sits herself at the next table, holding a tiny baby. Mom has that kind of tired glow that new moms have, one foot in the world of deep satisfaction, the other in the world of utter exhaustion.

I look at her baby, peeking out at us from a mountain of blankies. Her dark eyes focus on mine for a moment and voila! She smiles at me. Omigosh! There are few things in life more captivating as being blessed with a baby's smile. Don't you agree?

Hank, I thought to myself, you lucky old dog. This was my day. I was getting a "two-fer." A very old man inspires me by expressing his gratitude for his many years of life and simultaneously, a small baby spanking new to our planet, graces me with a smile at the gift of her new birth. Life doesn't get much richer.

We cycle through the seasons of our lives, hardly conscious of the passing of our years. One minute we are casting wondering eyes from the comfort of our own "blankies" and the next thing you know we are the old ones,(hopefully) grateful for the gift of life. .

I mean to savor the double blessing I received as I sipped some joe outside a coffee shop in Santa Rosa. It will help me get through some of the inevitable losses of life, the tears and the failures, the dark moments that are part of our human condition. I'll be better equipped to hang in there through the tough times because of those few minutes at Starbucks where a 90 year-old man and a little baby gave me a double-barreled reason to drink a toast, "To Life."