Since visiting Costa Rica for the first time about three years ago, I adopted their “Pura Vida” or “Real Living” attitude to life.
Recently, I have certainly been having “Real Living” moments.
On Feb. 2, thanks to my friend and toastmaster facilitator, Terry Pettijohn, I served as a debate judge at the Texas City High School Speech Tournament.
Wow! What wonderful abilities and communication skills were demonstrated by the high school debaters I had the pleasure of judging.
Pursuing educational opportunities and developing communications skills along the way is the foundation for leadership. God knows, we need some common sense leaders who put people and families first, rather than political parties and financial donors.
On the morning of Feb. 3, I attended a funeral with my 85-year-old mother for a 71-year-old father of eight. How can death be a Pura Vida moment?
My first funeral was for the tragic death of my young 31-year-old aunt and her 2-year-old son killed by a drunken driver in the early 1960s. “God needed them!” was a phrase I heard a lot that day. I also remember a lot of crying, praying and being scared!
The funeral I attended this morning was “Real Living” because of those in attendance and the expressions of great happiness and satisfaction with the life of our deceased family friend.
First, it was “Real Living” because the family really was a reflection of our country in their diverse racial and ethnic makeup — brown, black, white and every combination thereof!
Second, it was “Real Living” in the memories expressed by family and friends. I have attended many funerals since that first one in the 1960s, but never one that motivated me to discreetly pull out my phone and start taking notes. (It must have been the residual effect of judging the debate tournament!)
“It was no secret that my Dad Joe smoked a lot of weed ... he was always a happy person because he was always high!”
“He was a great Dad even though he gave me the car keys when I was 14 and told me to be careful!”
“He always had the biggest smile on his face ... I love you ... he was my best friend and the perfect person to tell a secret because he could never remember anything!”
“Joe was not a rich man, but he was rich in the love of his family.”
“Joe was my best friend. I am a ‘marijuano’ (a pot head)! Joe told me to say that proudly. Times are changing. If God made all the herbs what’s the problem with this herb?”
“God don’t Lie!” Pura Vida!