So my sister and I get up early the next morning to go to eat breakfast with the young gentlemen we had met at the duck festival. I had no idea how much I would appreciate their generosity and how much inspiration I was about to encounter.
Eating at the local diner we saw that these 2 knew everyone. They were born only 2 weeks apart and had known each other for 50+ years. You could tell how much they enjoyed each others company. Their names are Dale and AJ.
Dale was the more reserved one. Softer. Loved to share stories of his family and show off pictures. You could tell how proud he was of the life he had made. AJ on the other hand was more reserved when it came to his family life but boy did AJ love to live. As he put it “my give-a-damn is busted” and he really didn’t care what others thought, he was living his life. Both very unique and obviously very good friends as they seemed to always know what the other one was thinking.
They took us out on the Bayou in a boat to show us around. They shared much of how they had grown up and the places that they knew. They showed us the areas that were good for gators, and where the birds liked to be, the hidden castle that was not occupied, and places that they had worked. It was truly an experience getting to see the area from a local.
They treated us like family. I say that because they invited us over for lunch with the family. Fried shrimp, sweet potato fries, eggplant is what was on the menu. Cajun style. About a dozen people came over. While we were getting ready I got to spend some time talking to Dale. His story is amazing.
About 14 years ago, Dale was diagnosed with leukemia. He was faced with death and he won. He had over 10 major surgeries for a number of different things. It was amazing hearing him talk because never did he blame the world for his problems. When the going got tough for him, he kept fighting. He knows what suffering is and yet he is filled with compassion and appreciation for life. He wasn’t born this way, he learned. It is something we can all learn.
After talking to Dale for awhile, I found we had something in common. Suicide of a loved one. Though our stories are way different, our feelings were similar. Dale’s dad called his sister one day and told her that he had shot her mom but not to worry, he would take care of himself. Dale was the one to find them. While I can’t imagine what that would be like, I can only try to learn the things that Dale has from such an experience from talking to him and finding out his lessons. Everyone can teach us something.
Dale taught me we can try to understand the past but we must live going forward. We have a whole future ahead of us, we should embrace it and not hold on to the more painful experiences of our past. You have to look at all the things that you have around you (even if they are small) to be thankful for because when you put all that together, it adds up to something big. If we waste our time, we will never get that back. EVER. You can buy material things again if you lose them but you can’t buy back time with loved ones. You don’t know how much people mean to you till the day they are no longer in your life. Being gone temporarily is way different then gone for good. You don’t realize the power in that till you are faced with it. So learn from others, embrace those you have while you have them.
You will soon see that EVERYONE has a purpose in your life, some will teach you, push you, use you. Some will motivate you, encourage or discourage you. Some will go and some will stay. Most importantly everyone of them can bring out the best in you but it is a choice you make and a lesson you have to learn.
Here are to new blessings and life lessons: