‘Live into your values’. Peace, patience, persistence, respect, forgiveness, dignity.
a man in his early 40’s is looking for a seat in a busy café to regroup and read before heading off for a walk with a coparent. He comes across an older man reading his newspaper, he appears frail, and yet fulfilled, seemingly content. The older man offers the younger man a seat at his booth, a reprieve from the crowd. The younger man accepts, drinks his coffee, sits and reads. He’s reading a short story ‘The Paper Menagerie’ by Ken Lui. It’s a story about a young man who fails to honour his mother during her life, nor in her passing, and as he sits in his childhood home he feels ashamed of himself for behaving in such a way. The young man in the booth sits, considering how he would have acted and ponders the choices he is now making. Does he honour his parents,, or is his life just too busy, too important?. Will he leave it for another Day – yet another day? As he gets up to leave the older man asks “Is your name Simon?” to which he replies “Not if I’m in trouble or owe you money!” The older man smiled and said “You may not recognize me, but we met many years ago. You came to my house for dinner with your friend Jasper and his mother Pippa”, referring to the namesake of the young man’s eldest daughter. They exchanged hello’s and small talk about the years past, mutual friends, places they had been, until the older man dropped his coffee, spilling it on the floor. “My left hand doesn’t work anymore”, he says, doing his best to conceal his embarrassment. "Since my stroke, my left hand is always cold and my right hand is always hot. I can’t hold anything with my left hand, it just doesn’t work. Can I tell you something? I’m sixty eight years old, I don’t have any children and every year another friend passes away. When I was a young man I had great dexterity, I was as steady as a rock, my body would do as I told it to, with great efficiency. I had tremendous coordination. Now I am old, and my body is failing me. I can’t even hold a coffee cup. When you’re old and your body is slowly winding down, and you don’t have any children, and the twilight of your life feels like a fading light, you ask yourself 'Who am I?', 'What am I doing with my life', and 'What is important? Simon, do you know what is important? your values? Your values are all that you have and all that you will ever have. Live into your values“. They sat in silence, eyes now slightly blurry, tinged with red, and the chatter of the cafe slowly returned. They shook hands, and the younger man gave him his book and wandered off, more aware, more alive.
There are stand out moments in your life when the universe seems to harmonize, to synchronize in perfectly timed profound encounters. This was one of them.
LIVE INTO YOUR VALUES