A revelation on luck from four different encounters:
Number One: Last week I ran into Andy Bernstein, an old friend of mine from college. Andy and I only had a few minutes together in the elevator but we quickly reminisced about the fun we had in school and the few years after graduation. Andy recalled a Halloween party at my little apartment in South Miami. “Boy, were we lucky!” he said before the elevator doors opened on my floor and I stepped out.
Number Two: After speaking at a conference in Islamorada I skipped the cocktail party and went running along the shore. At a particularly rocky part of the beach I hopped a low fence and passed a sign announcing an upscale community project that must have been stalled by the recession. I ran along the water through the beautiful property thinking how rich you’d have to be to afford the homes there when I stumbled across a ragtag homeless encampment and a small party of squatters drinking beer and watching the sunset. They saluted me with their half-drained cans of Colt 45. “Rich or poor,” I thought, “they’re still pretty lucky to be here.”
Number Three: This weekend my sister and her partner were in town to celebrate their two-year old’s birthday. We had a big party at my parent’s place and the patio was jammed with well-wishers. There were friends who have been together so long we’ve become family and family that’s been together so long we’ve become friends.
There were nachos and nachas (Yiddish for pleasurable pride, especially in another’s achievements) and plenty of heartache, too. Our group includes a lot of successes and a lot of survivors: cancer, kidney failure, death, divorce, and financial ruin — a full overview on the human condition. But there we were, all happy to be together and celebrate Dylan’s second year. Someone remarked how lucky we were and everyone agreed.
Number Four: Monday morning’s running route is my favorite. Our group meets at Pinecrest Gardens at 6:00 a.m. and runs the five miles through Matheson Hammock to Biscayne Bay and back. Thanks to spring break, this Monday it was just Tim and I and because of daylight savings time we took off in the dark. But by the time we reached the harbor in Matheson Hammock the sun was rising out of the bay and shooting slivers of silver light up and down the masts of the bobbing sailboats. By the time we got to the open bay the orange sun was peaking through the clouds on the horizon, the palm trees were swaying rhythmically with the breeze and the pelicans were gliding lazily over the beach. It was the perfect Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau morning.
As we rounded the reservoir, Tim said, “Can you imagine? It’s the middle of March and we’re running along the bay in short sleeves and shorts watching the sunrise. I bet the people who pay all that money to live in those mansions on the water don’t even get up early enough to enjoy this view. Boy, are we lucky!
The Revelation: We’re lucky for what we have. We’re lucky for where we are. We’re lucky for who we’re with. We’re lucky for who we are.
But what’s even better than being lucky? Perhaps the real trick is not to be lucky but instead to realize just how lucky we are.
(By the way, I realize how lucky I am to have you reading this and I appreciate it. Thank you.)