We were sitting in a resturant in Aruba, an open beautiful space overlooking a waterfall with big golden fishes, iguanas sunning themselves, and a glamorous black swan parading around the water admired by everyone. It was an open but shaded space where we can feel the soothing heat in January but remain protected from the sun. An occasional bird flew in to pick up some breakfast remains. In this gloriously happy place where everyone is on vacation there is energetic chatter and laughter everywhere. A little boy, about 2-3 years old saw a bird land on someone’s abandoned breakfast table and with his high pitched laughter he ran toward the bird with the cutest wobbly gait of a child who just mastered the art of running. He began chasing the bird around the table and laughing while the bird was squawking. The bird could have flown away but instead they ran around and around the table together, squawking and laughing, a playful bond between a boy and a bird. What a wonderful introduction to Aruba!
After 2 unsuccessful attempts, we finally made it! Covid numbers were too high the first time, the second time I fractured my shoulder and the third, well, we were finally there. We had a rocky start because my husband Pat had a scratchy throat before we left and by the time we arrived, it blossomed into a full fledged cold, so he spent the first 2 days in bed with the “do not disturb” sign on the door.
For me every day is consumed with my post cancer stomach issues and I’m beginning to see how much tension this produces. There is so much to worry about, so I end up carrying a lot of baggage, literally and figuratively, and wonder what happened to our lives.
While Pat was in bed, I went to the beach with the rest of our family and was immediately struck by the amount of fun in the air. So many people taking a break from their lives, they tucked their clothes, occupations and life-tasks into their suitcases, exchanged it all for bathing suits and happily walked around exposing most of their bodies and a different kind of vulnerability that is usually hidden. Childlike energy of playing catch and floating in the calm ocean water, unaware that anything else exists in life except for the present moment. I saw people sprawled out, it looked like every muscle in their bodies went limp and funnily enough, not so many cell phones. I wondered if I would be one of those people in the days to come.
Aging takes up a lot of attention with physical limitations so when Pat finally got out of bed he needed assistance walking on the sand while I am always looking for the nearest restroom. Additionally, in my younger years I was always out in the sun working on a tan — I have the sun spots to prove it. Now, the sun is too hot and it zaps whatever energy I have, which makes me afraid of getting sick. With relief I retreat to the shaded grassy umbrella where Pat and Kevin are already sitting. Next year we may need a bigger umbrella.
I took my tarot cards with me and each day we picked a “card for the day” to help us along with the quest on our lives’ journey. I picked a lot of Queens, clear headed strong women who are in control of their lives, but the most intriguing card was the Wheel of Fortune, a card representing the inevitability of change. If we can accept this hard-to-accept fact, we are opening ourselves up to welcome happiness with “bigger dimensions and better solutions.” Fiebig & Burger
Being able to gracefully move along with the changes in life, brings us dignity and comfort. It was interesting to see that most of the people on the beach were younger than me and Pat. My usual question, to no one in particular, was “where are the other people our age?” While there were hundreds of younger people running around in skimpy bathing suits, we wore lots of protection and sat comfortably watching people have fun, playing, eating and drinking. I loved looking out at the gentle waves which was hypnotizing. There were happy people floating along with the movement of water — the constant rhythm made me aware of my own body’s rhythm in every breath. This awareness was life affirming, a lovely message from the Wheel of Fortune.
The ultimate message came with Pat and his cane, which he initially resisted. When he put aside all the uneasiness of needing a cane, he quickly saw the benefits. The sadness of being hindered by age evaporated as he began to walk with improved balance and strength. It seemed to become a part of him and it was a joy to watch him walking gracefully and happily with his grandsons by his side.
The Wheel of Fortune tells us that when we move along with the wheel without resisting, accepting its’ ups and downs, like riding a wave, we will be able to receive its rewards. I was watching Pat watch his grandson play roulette, interestingly another kind of wheel. Drew is observant, wise and careful with his money and was doing extraordinarily well. His family stood around him with excitement as Drew kept winning. My eyes were not on the winning numbers, they were on Pat. He was standing and leaning on his cane comfortably. His gaze was on his grandson and he had a huge smile and eyes that sparkled. As I watched my husband give up pride in exchange for a cane, he was free enough to feel the excitement of the moment and the love that was shared in this beautiful family. The acceptance of needing help enabled him to move onto “bigger dimensions and better solutions.”