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Strawberry Moments


A DJ is playing the best Latin mixes amongst the palm trees and pool. The carne asada is cooking on the grill, and the table has fresh guacamole, salsa and copious amounts of snacks. People are happy. Some are dancing, while others mill around, chatting and eating. It’s a perfect summer setting.

I took a break from eating and dancing and slipped into the hot tub with my friend, Dave. Dave just turned 70, and is an avid salsa and swing dancer. He has a head full of thick, luxurious white hair, and wears funky black retro glasses.

As we sipped our Coronas, Dave shared with me that he had lost the love of his life in recent years. I said I was sorry for his loss and his response was a brilliant smile as he gushed about his wife of over twenty years — how beautiful and intelligent she was and how lucky he was for each moment he had with her.

“I was blessed to have the opportunity to care for her while she was sick until the very end,” he mused, truly grateful.

I felt a lump welling up in my throat as I held the space for him to share.

He continued, “I have a parable that I want to share with you from a Buddhist monk: A man is running from a tiger when he is rushed to the edge of a cliff. He falls, but as he falls, he reaches out and grabs a branch. He desperately looks up the side of the cliff and sees the tiger, pacing at the top. He looks down and sees the vast chasm far below.”

He paused, allowing the tension of the situation to build and then went on, “Gripping the branch tighter, he glances near his hand and sees a juicy, ripe, red strawberry. He reaches for it, plucks it, and puts it in his mouth, savoring the delicious flavor.”

Another pause. “The tiger represents his past and the big drop represents the future. The strawberry represents the present, that situation that is right in front of you.” He spread out his arms wide, his grin widened and with a sparkle in his eye, he said, “This is a strawberry moment!”

Like a ray of light, his story pierced my soul. Our eyes connected and I smiled at him and thanked him for sharing — not just the story but mostly for helping me recognize the “strawberry moment.”

As someone who is trying to come to terms with yet another hiccup in my past, and having no idea how the rest of my life is going to play out, I really needed that parable. I needed the reminder to notice and relish what was right in front of me.

I hope to make my life a collection of strawberry moments. Enjoying each separate small gift like it might be the last time.

Here’s to my friend, Dave, his lovely wife, and to enjoying strawberry moments each day, wherever I go. Will you join me?


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