Buen Retiro Park: A Reminder That Life Is a Choice From an Artist in Madrid, Spain by Sheri B Doyle
Just outside of the Crystal Palace in the Buen Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain, a very humble artist laid his hand-painted canvases on the ground. Several days a week the 70-plus-year-old man comes to the park to sell his creations. The abstract pieces are brightly colored and quite well done. It was a life-long hobby that in retirement has become a job. The bold colors and subjects caught my attention, so I stopped to take a look.
After giving me a few minutes to browse through his work, the artist approached me with a smile reaching from ear to ear. He explained to me that his paintings were his passion and the setting of this amazing park and Crystal Palace were a venue for him to meet and talk with people from all over the world. I smiled back and complimented his work. We both lingered for a moment. Then he opened up and shared with me his philosophy on life.
He told me that his life had not always been easy, that money hadn’t always been available, but that as long as he had his health and the ability to dream, his life had always been good. He explained that now he came to sell his paintings in the park so that he could take his wife out to beautiful restaurants to thank her for the life they had together. His philosophy throughout life was to always keep a smile on your face and gratitude in your heart, for every day is a gift and we should not waste it with negativity. That is how he had managed to live 70 plus years of happiness and joy even when things weren’t always perfect.
For over a year this man’s larger-than-life smile has stayed with me. His joy at simply being alive was infectious. He reminded me that day to never forget that our life is a choice, either to be grateful or not, to find joy in life or to find misery. From the outside his life had been quite normal, but to him it had been glorious.
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