The Tale of Two Lions
Yesterday marked the third year of my Uncle David's passing (left). I feel as if I've spoken about, written about, the moment pictured here at least a thousand times. We do not know when we'll be called home and that home is wherever you believe your soul will be taken when your life is no longer; nonetheless, during our time here on earth, we have the ability to truly effect the lives of others.
My family, splintered due to war, has made the best out of the conditions given to all of us. Some remained, some escaped, some have died, however, we've all lived. There are some whom I've connected with and other whom will simply be family in name when all is said and done here on earth.
In April of 2012, my father (right) and I traveled to the United Kingdom upon the request of my uncle. This was a festive visit simply because marriage bells were in the air and so were we. At this particular time, I had never traveled abroad with my father, for that matter, my father and I have never taken a long car ride together, just the two of us, so this time was special.
Over the course of a day of travel, I was able to be goofy and bossy with the man who tried to remind me that he had traveled prior to my arrival on this planet; I had to keep reminding him that a lot had changed in the last thirty five plus years and he needed my help (truth is if I'd lost him along the way, my mom would have been pissed).
Fast forward to the day, the moment pictured above...
This day was our "shopping day" the day we set out to go and purchase things from places which weren't in the States. Instead of looking for the unique, my father kept looking for the cheap, at least in my mind, and that killed my mood.
For so long we struggled to make it, as a family, and here we were, my father and me, on the other side of the world and I watched as my father, gaffed at bottles of perfume which cost $75 or Adidas bags which cost $50; all the while I stood in sheer embarassment as he attempted to go lower in price or argue with department store workers over price. I was thrown back to being a child again and simply wanting to run and hide when Mr. Price Tag turned up on the other side of The Pond.
IF anyone knows me, you know I did what any young lion would do, I took out my card and purchased what my father wouldn't, all the while saying to him, "It's only money, I'll just buy it." After all, the gifts were for my mother, sister, and brother. This moment, bothered me so, I felt trapped not by money per se but by a mindset that my father was too prudent to venture outside of a bubble which he had created for himself over the years. So stew I did, I stewed so much that I'm sure my attitude was bringing down the fact I was in the United Kingdom with my father and my beloved uncle.
My uncle always seemed to have this way about him, an ease which is impossible to describe. "Son..." said my uncle, "It's okay, a gift is still a gift regardless of the size or name." I felt pretty shitty, after all who was I trying to please, my ego...?
The afternoon went on and a light drizzle ensued while we walking around Birmingham's famed Bull Ring shopping center. As the tiny droplets fell from the sky, they extinguished my "fire" and also opened my eyes.
You see, before me stood two men who had grown up together and escaped a war, before me stood men who had left behind a lifetime of memories in order to save their families. We slowly came up to the BULL standing in the ring and I asked my dad and my uncle to stand in front of the statue so I could take their picture.
As the two of them stood there, I only saw two lions who had found their way back to each other but for a moment, as I stood there, I reminded myself to never become so involved with the world around me, instead I needed to be consumed with the beauty before me.
My uncle passed less than a year after this picture and he left without me telling him, "I'm still working on accepting gifts regardless of the size or name..." The biggest gift he showed me was his heart which is that of a lion.