Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Zio's Lessons

One of the funnest things of all is to have someone in your world who's more of a ranter than you are. They show ya stuff you'd miss otherwise. AND...they really have a way of making you feel so much 'more' after you're done with the chattin'. Ain't it funny how that works?

I have this Uncle (in Italian, we call him 'Zio'). He is without question one of the most firey, passionate, honest people I've ever known. Been that way for as long as I've known him. Which is to say: my whole life. He was the one person who, upon hearing of my impending departure from my hometown, handed me a $100 bill and said, "when you get where you're going, put this in the bank. If you need help, call me. Don't EVER come back here. It'll kill you."

I was 18 at the time. And I knew exactly what he was trying to say (even though, had someone else heard that little snippet, they'd have thought the man was giving me a threatening ultimatum. Not so. I knew what he meant; I never forgot it. To this day, any time I bring it up, he laughs his big, hearty laugh and says, "yea. You and me. Two peas in a pod."

I love that man. More than I could ever tell you. I love him because he's as honest and loving and true as one could ever hope to be. Yea. He rants and raves and goes on and on about shit that's completely out of his control. But that's as much about his 'learnings' as it is about his stubborn ass. He just is who is he is. I have no desire whatsoever to change him. I just love him and he loves me back.

So we were chatting just the other day and he gets on this whole thing about how the bazillionaires don't do anything good with their money. "All these people, right here in America, who are living in shacks and barely have enough to eat, and those idiots are giving their money to some village in Africa. What the hell is W-R-O-N-G with those people???" Next topic was the war in Afghanistan and then it was on to how a bunch of people got killed ... somewhere across the globe. When he got to that one I cut him off. I said, "Ya know I love you more than my boots, right? So how 'bout we talk about the good stuff you have going on right now? What in the world can you DO about all that other shit?"

He started laughing his big, bawdy laugh and told me that I was the ONLY person in his world who ever calls him on his 'shit'. Moments later he was telling me about his improving wellness after a minor surgery he'd just had. His entire mood shifted from one of rage to one of gratitude. In about 3.5 seconds. I felt the swell of my heart...and had the biggest grin on my mugg. GAWD! I LOVE THIS MAN!

When we hung up the phone, all I could think was how much fun it is to have him in my world. Yea. Even with all the rantings and carrying-on. He's such a vibrant Being...and his energy just seems to grow, not diminish as one might 'expect' from someone who's approaching 80. He is somethin' else. And he's MY Zio...and I'm utterly grateful to have him in my beautiful, crazy world. It's folks like him who make my life so very colorful. AND...his antics help me see more clearly just how much I have let go of...how much I've shifted from that raging lunatic to someone who is a bit more....balanced.

It's all about the contrast, yes?

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