Last week my grandfather died. He was the last of my living grandparents. His decline since the passing of my grandmother was extremely swift. One day he was a spritely 93 year old. He got sick and bang! He was struck old and declined from there. We were lucky to see him in decent shape over Passover.
Among the many many things that he taught me was an important lesson in human relations. ”Always be ready to shake someone’s hand,” he once told me, “No matter who they are or how dirty the hand is.” (I think he said this in regards to shaking his car mechanics hand even though it was covered in grease.) It was a simply lesson but one that stuck with me since I heard it as a child. It is one I have tried to practice throughout my life.
For some reason this lesson reminds me of piece from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki in which he states that one should always be ready to bow, even on your deathbed. For now and for always, my heart will bow to my grandfather for what he taught me about the arts, life, living and family.