STARTING LIFE AT SEVENTY
 
THE SECRET TO LIFE IS IN OUR STARS

 

eastwind journals
 
By Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Freelance blogger, retired columnist Philippine Daily Inquirer
Facebook “Eastwind Journals” / “Bernie Lopez”

 

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Seventy-year-old Kevin was so bored with life that he started thinking of death. He started getting sick with imagined diseases. In total depression, wanting to die but not knowing how to, he took a walk in the nearby woods, contemplating suicide.

 

He stumbled and sprained his ankle. Unable to walk, he lay on the grass, and for the first time, saw the panorama of the stars like a million diadems on soft black velvet. Suddenly, he realized that he took many beautiful things for granted, that life was worth living, and it was not too late to start life at 70. His entire life of emptiness and misery flashed back in a split second. He was sad how he had wasted his life.

 

A deep spiritual transformation emerged. He complained aloud to the Lord in in tears. He vented his anger on the Lord, blaming Him for his misery and pain, until he realized that, for the first time in his life, he was praying for help. There was only himself and the world to blame. Only then did he realize, that he was still alive, that life was so precious, that life was what he made of it

 

Unable to walk, he was forced to sleep until morning on top of soft summer leaves. Resisting old age and weakness, he wandered aimlessly for two days, wondering what to do with himself. He bought bread in a bakery along the road. There, he met a young lady sitting on the curb, crying. He brought her out to a nearby garden, and asked her to lie down on the grass with him. She meekly obeyed, no questions asked. They watched the clear star-studded evening sky for a whole ten minutes in silence.

 

SANDRA. My name is Sandra. Hey, look, a shooting star.
KEVIN. I’m Kevin. I was ready to commit suicide two days ago, Sandra. The stars saved me. They made me feel alive.
SANDRA. I have cancer. The doctor said I will die in six months.
KEVIN. How nice. You have six months to start your life.
SANDRA. What would you have me do?
KEVIN. Give yourself to others, that’s the only way to die. Forget yourself in others.
SANDRA. I am not important. Everybody else is. Sounds like a good plan. Yes, I will try it. Look, another shooting star.
KEVIN. A shooting star, in all its grandeur, lives only for two seconds at most. You have six months. You have plenty of time.
SANDRA. Thank you, Kevin. I will never forget you.

 

Kevin did not fully realize the utter spiritual comfort he gave Sandra. It just came out of him. Now he knew what to do with himself. Going back home, he resolved to begin a life for the Lord and for others. It was not too late. It was only then did he really begin his life. He found his youth in his old age. After seven decades of emptiness, he began to live.

 

With his last savings, he built a kitchen named “SOUP FOR THE SOUL”, inviting other old people. Every day, they came, about 50 of them, men and women in rags, a noisy bunch who began to discover their youth in their old age in each other. When his money was running out, he told the sad news to all that he had to close the kitchen.

 

Rebecca, a 78-year-old feisty woman, stood up and said, “No way. We will raise the money.” They had a big rowdy meeting. Everybody was screaming. In the midst of the pandemonium, a beautiful young lady alighted from a black limousine and approached them. All were silent.

 

SANDRA. Hi, Kevin. I can see your making a mess of your life. I’ve searched high and low for you.
KEVIN. Kitchen mess, yes. Sandra, it’s nice to see you so alive. Let me see, it has been 12 months since we met, right?
SANDRA. Eighteen, Kevin. I did not die after six months because if you live for others, you don’t easily die. You taught me the secret to life, Kevin.
KEVIN. It’s no secret. It’s just that we are mostly blind because we do not want to see.
REBECCA. Hey, Sandra, you know what …….
SANDRA. Hush, grandma. I know. The soup may ran out, but not the love we all share.

 

Sandra winked. She gave Kevin a small bag full of cash. Everyone screamed. Soup for the Soul was alive and well. It became immortal and would never die. Somehow the Lord planned its finances, not Kevin, not Sandra, not anyone.

 

SANDRA. Tell me, Kevin, do you lie down on the grass with these people?
KEVIN. No grass around here. Anyway, we don’t need shooting stars.
SANDRA. I know, because you are shooting stars to each other, right?
KEVIN. Right. God bless your pretty soul, Sandra.

 

In an instant, like a brilliant shooting star, Sandra is gone.

 

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