This morning started out as a typical weekend day. I rose early and made my way to the shore to witness yet another beautiful and amazing Sunrise. The dawn was warm so, aside from my jeans, I wore nothing but a tee-shirt and my riding vest.
I did as I typically do. Rode to the beach and found my spot in the sand. I then watched the Sun rise from a small pebble on the horizon to a glaring ball of beauty in the heavens. It was, once again, an awe-inspiring sight.
The day had begun and I decided it was time to make my way back home and accomplish my chores. As I stood alongside my bike, this is what I saw. A man… sitting alone in the corner of the pavilion shading his eyes from the power of the Sun. There was not a person around him… he sat alone. I, naturally, decided to introduce myself.
“Hi, my name is Woody. How is the morning working out for you today?” He looked up at me, at first as though I was some kind of raving lunatic, and responded with “Its a good day, don’t you think?” I had no other response other than “Yep, with a picture like that to our East, I couldn’t imagine a better beginning!”
We engaged in casual conversation for some time and often just glanced across the ocean at the beauty of the Sun. He too, was overwhelmed with it’s magnificence and glory. There were many moments where we simply sat in silence, side-by-side, and stared out over the sea.
His name was Brian. He seemed an intelligent man as he knew of today’s current events and all the things surrounding life as it exists for us all. In my own true fashion, I began the personal conversation asking Brian about his life and his journeys through this world. He responded eagerly.
“Well, I’ve been around for quite some time friend. I fought for our country in Vietnam and lost many friends at the same time. I’ve learned a lot about life and think I have it all figured out… at least for me.”
At this point, Brian began telling me his personal tales. Stories about how he and his wife struggled for years to make it and raise their two children through their college years. They’ve grown-up and have “wonderful” careers now. His son is a doctor in Massachusetts and daughter a practicing dentist right here in Boca Raton.
“I don’t see them as much as I’d like but I know they’re here for me if I need them. We talk on the phone all the time but, still, I miss giving them a hug or a little pat on the fanny.” He was clearly proud of his children.
I had to know more so I inquired about his wife, his children’s Mother. “Oh, well, she’s moved on. She left us about five years ago to cancer. She put-up a good battle but eventually just gave up. We all miss her, but know she’s at peace now.”
Although saddened by his words, I asked further “Do you think of her here? Do you talk to her while your watching the majesty of the Sunrise.” To no surprise he answered “Of course I do… that’s why I come here!”
I know my stories tend to be sad but, honestly, they’re not meant to be. Here I sat alongside a man who has lost his beloved wife. He still yearns for her today, much as I do my Kimmie. yet against all odds he moves forward.
Life deals us some pretty nasty hands at times. What we do and how we play those hands are what dictates the rest of our lives. I honestly believe we choose our own destiny. We carve our paths through life.
Brian has chosen a “happy path.” He remembers his Loving wife and treasures all the times they spent together by honoring her memory each morning at the beach. They talk and, again like me and Kimmie, sometimes argue… but always remember what they had together.
I want to smile like Brian did as I spoke with him. I want to know that happiness once more as he still remembers. Sometimes its hard, but I know what I must do. Thank you Brian… thank you for sharing the morning with me and bringing a grin to my face today. I will think of you often as I ride into the Sun remembering the lessons you taught me today.