La vie est belle

September 15, 2012

My grandmother had a sign above her kitchen sink that read „Life Can Be Beautiful“. She would emphasize the “can” in the phrase, indicating she had seen some less than beautiful things in her life. I will always remember her philosophy, even though she is no longer here to share it with the world.

There is so much beauty in life. Every moment offers an opportunity to seek it out. Such was my experience recently on a train in France.

The train came to a halt just a few miles before my stop. In the late August heat I tried to decipher what the train conductor was telling us in French over the loudspeakers. After about thirty minutes, we were told we had to head back to the prior stop due to ‘track issues’. I looked at the guy next to me and asked him, in halting French, if he spoke English or German. He lit up.

“English. A little bit!”

We proceeded to speak French instead. I learned he was going to pick up a new car and had to drive nine hours back to Bordeaux the same day. He seemed unfazed by the delay. His Zen-like attitude was contagious and I settled in for the hour’s wait with delight. He bought me a Coke at the next stop and we chatted in French for the remainder of the time.

“We could be complaining right now like some of the people I saw who chose to wait on the platform,” he said to me. “But instead, we are using our time to the best of our ability.”

“Oui,” I replied. “La vie est belle!”

I couldn’t resist telling him about The Power of Slow. He already had the mindset. I was impressed!

As we parted ways, I headed for my hotel. And when I did, I saw Julia Roberts smiling at me from this poster. In that moment I swear I could feel my grandmother smiling too.

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