Hi from Rick: Seize the Day
I'm high over Hudson Bay flying to Portugal. Flying always makes me thoughtful. Poignant images of life and death give this trip a different feel. I've been thinking about Rome, Scotland, youth, and life.
|Travel stirs us to reflect...and to seize the day.|
As millions converged on the Vatican to celebrate the life of Pope John Paul II, I saw the flags of nations swirling in a sea of heads. At the Mass, political leaders — the greatest assembly of them in history — were seated in alphabetical order. It almost seemed like a lecture in the virtues of getting along. During the "passing of the peace," people shook hands with those they normally wouldn't. The pope brought people together.
My good friend Arthur also died. For many years, he'd welcomed our groups into his rustic home deep in Scotland's Highlands to regale us with his Scottish wit and mesmerizing stories. All the residents of his village of Glencoe — with lots of proud kilts and blaring bagpipes — converged at a service to commemorate his life. Arthur lived 50 years on one lung. After a battle in Korea, when he was seriously injured and several of his mates were killed, Arthur vowed to avenge his young comrades' deaths by living life to its fullest. Glencoe mourns the loss of Arthur as deeply as Poland mourns the loss of John Paul II. Arthur also brought people together.
Meanwhile, my 18-year old son, Andy, who doesn't pay much attention to people dying, prepares for the trip of a lifetime with his best buddy. Andy and Alex will be flying off to Europe in June with a railpass, a tiny budget, and no parents...the perfect mix for an excellent adventure. I've coached him, his mom is anxious, and his life is about to open up like a Dutch tulip in spring. I look forward to reliving my first European adventure vicariously through his travels.
Inspired by the pope, Arthur, and Andy's trip of a lifetime, "seize the day" seems to be the sentiment of this season. Life on this planet is fleeting, our time here can be a rich experience, and those of us with the opportunity to befriend our world through travel are incredibly blessed.
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