I once met a most amazing woman. She was 96-years-old going on 21. There was a brightness in her eyes that drew me to her instantly. And of coarse everyone who knows me well cringes when I find a stranger that I find intriguing. There is nothing that will keep me from striking up a conversation with whomever my target may be…
Her name was Margie and her eyes were as blue as the Caribbean sea and her warm smile could melt the iciest of hearts.
I struck up a conversation with her at a small cafe in Laguna Beach, California. I asked how she was doing, and she said, “Couldn’t be better! What a beautiful day it is!”
I then asked her if she was always as optimistic and thrilled about life as she seemed. “You know…I have always just been amazed at how wonderful the world is. There is always something new to learn and projects to throw yourself into.”
“Do you have a large family? Any children living by or grand kids?”
“No dear. I never had children and I’m the last living person in my immediate family.”
I didn’t quite know what to say…just looked into her eyes and held her gaze for a bit.
“Don’t feel sorry for me dear,” she instructed. “My life has been so very full. I am never bored and rarely lonely. I have great friends, and I travel around town a lot. Really, I feel that the world is my oyster.”
It struck me as we spoke that Margie is a warrior. She has built a life of meaning out of less then optimum conditions (as measured by the majority of the world). I wanted to give her a huge hug and thank her for her boldness.
“If you could give me any advice on living a full life what would it be?” I asked.
“Hmm…well…I would say laugh as much as you can. Drink in the beauty that surrounds you each and every moment. And for goodness sakes don’t ever mope around when life throws you a lemon. There is no excuse for moping around because there is always someone out there that has it tougher than you. Oh…and one more thing…be interested in the things around you — seek knowledge. You should never be bored because there is so much you can learn.”
I basked in the sunlight of her knowledge and willingness to share for near an hour, and then realized that I needed to get back to work. “Margie, I have absolutely loved our conversation. I love your attitude…”
As I spoke I realized that Thanksgiving was in a couple weeks, I asked her if she had plans. “No dear,” she said. And for a moment her eyes revealed a bit of sorrow, as she was human after all. “Well, why don’t you come and spend it with my family?,” I asked. She thanked me for my offer but said that she would rather spend it on her own. A few seconds later her sadness was overcome by the spark that I first saw in her.
I don’t quite know what to say about my encounter in full. Margie was a woman with an amazing outlook on life, and she was without a doubt human – with ups and downs.
The world we live in is amazing — we can learn so much from people like Margie. And at the same time, we can move outside of our comfort zones, our gated communities and closed knit groups of friends/family members and continually widen it. Our family is the human race.
I wish that Margie would have accepted my invitation to Thanksgiving dinner. I wish I could have asked her if she had a fear of human connection…for maybe she feels that everyone leaves eventually. And i wish I would have been bold enough to insist and to adopt her into my family until the day she takes her last breath. And maybe even be the person who one day holds her hand on her deathbed. This is what really should have happened.
Today, I’d like to honor Margie — her unforgettable spark and to plea with all who read this message to reach out and to insist that no one have to go at it alone in this world. We are one human family – be bold enough to keep widening your family circle while seeking meaning, truth and that internal/external spark for life & love that will transform your world.
– Jen Engevik