Friday, March 12, 2010

Take a gamble on life!

"The life of man is like a game with dice; if you don’t get the throw you want, you must show your skill in making the best of the throw you get."

I dealt blackjack at a casino party last night.

There's really nothing remarkable about that, but...

I met a most amazing woman there. I'm sure she doesn't feel that she's amazing, but she certainly was to me. She was inspirational in the way that one small thing occurs in your life and lasts forever in your memory, influencing your choices and who you become.

Her name was Janie and she had never gambled before, but she was eager to try something new and since no real money was changing hands, this was her opportunity.

Again, that doesn't seem very remarkable. Except that I see lots of people at parties like this who have never gambled and, despite the fact that no real money is involved, they're much to nervous about "losing" to take the chance and learn, to take a chance that they might have fun no matter what happens.

But back to Janie. Another player and I took turns explaining the game to her and we began. As often happens at blackjack tables, there was quite a lot of conversation. When someone asked Janie how she was affiliated with the party (it was a corporate event, not a public one), she explained that she had been invited by a friend and that she had recently moved to the Portland area from Michigan.

You see, for the last ten years, Janie had been the caretaker for her husband as he battled cancer. When he passed, they had been married for 58 years. It was then that Janie decided it was time she did something for herself. She had put her marriage, husband, family first for most of her life and now she wanted to put herself first and see what it was like.

So she had estate sales and let go of the antique collection, her husband's Civil War memorabilia collection, the house, just about everything. Then she packed up what remained and moved to Portland where one daughter and grandbaby live. She looked at several retirement communities, signed a lease, and moved in. She said they'll have to drag her out of that place, because she loves it so. And she's very hopeful that she'll meet a new "Mr. Right" one of these days, too.

When asked what her secret was to having a successful 58-year marriage, Janie thought for a minute and said, "Keep a positive attitude!" She explained that there were lots of times in her life when she could have let the dark clouds settle over her head, but what would be the point of that? She knew there was sun above them, so why not watch for it to peak out instead of focusing on the clouds? Much more fun that way!

Wow. Wouldn't it be lovely if we could all follow Janie's example? What would happen if you spent all your time looking for the light instead of fighting the darkness?

I so admire Janie's positivity and resliency!

And as for the gambling, Janie did pretty well. She won some, she lost some, and she had a whole lot of fun doing it. I suspect that's pretty much the way she's navigated through most of her life. Throw those dice. Hit that 12 against the dealer's 10 showing. Try. Win. Fail. Laugh along the way, and enjoy the ride.

Oh, did I mention that Janie is 84? Yeah, I was shocked when she said that. She certainly didn't look or act like some 84-year-olds I've known.

Janie, wherever you are today, thank you for spending some time at my table. You are a rock star!

1 comment:

~Angel~ said...

How very sweet! I love nights like that where someone makes you laugh as much as you do them!!