As I’ve said in the past, I’ve had the opportunity of talking to very diverse audiences over the past few months – from 4 year olds right the way up to people living in retirement villages. After a visit to one such group the other day I found myself reflecting on how privileged I am to get to spend some quality time with this remarkable group of people.
It’s not usually during the time I’m sharing my story with the retirees that I realize how special they are. It’s not even during the Q&A sessions – The questions I’m asked don’t seem to vary much from one audience to another… except perhaps when I’m talking to 4 year olds.
Rather, the most special moments tend to come afterwards – when I have a chance to sit and chat to the residents over a cup of tea. That’s when I’m able to listen to stories of their amazing lives – sometimes the stories are hair-raising, sometimes profoundly emotional, and always, always inspiring. And often I gain nuggets of wisdom that I’m able to use in my own life.
The other day an elderly lady told me how much she missed being able to have a dog… she’d always had a dog, from the time she was 6 years old until she entered the retirement home. Watching her with my guide dog, Fiji, brought tears to my eyes.
She explained that she tries to find something to be thankful for in each day … what she described as her daily tonic. Then, as she yielded her seat to another lady who wanted a chance to pat the dog, she smiled and told me that meeting Fiji would serve as her tonic for a lot longer than just a single day.
Since then I’ve also taken to searching for a “daily tonic” in each day… and I’m grateful that they are not usually hard to find!
Is it any wonder I treasure the opportunities I have to spend time with the residents of a retirement home?