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Lions Roar : January 2019
She shook her head and said, “Dad, that’s the lifeguard’s job!” I thought this could be an important lesson for Anna, so I explained that sometimes in life you can’t wait for other people to act. Sometimes when you see someone in trouble, you have to do something yourself. I don’t remember my exact words, but I felt good about how it all came out, imag- ining this was a rare moment when I could teach my kid something useful. Anna said, “Dad, you’re so embarrassing!” and walked away. The rest of the day was a blur of errands and playdates, yet at some point in the afternoon I realized my hands were still shak- ing. It definitely wasn’t the wet jeans anymore. I just couldn’t get that image of Ivy underwater out of my head. That night, my wife Dina and I got the kids to bed. I had a moment of quiet, but I still couldn’t calm down. I opened the refrigerator and saw a can of Guinness. I hardly ever drank and Dina didn’t like Guinness, so I don’t know why we had it. But I popped it open and lay down and started drinking. From the very first sip, a wave of bliss rolled over me. At that moment, I knew that everything was okay. The kids I loved were safe in their beds. Ivy was fine. No one was drowning. I could finally relax. It was among the greatest moments I’ve ever experienced, before or since. Word about what happened at the pool somehow got around and a couple of days later Ivy’s mom emailed to thank me. That was ten years ago. Yet even now when I run into Ivy, she’ll occa- sionally hug me and say, “Thank you for saving my life,” which is pretty cute. I didn’t think about the incident much for a few years, but once when I was feeling a little down about myself, I realized the anniversary was coming up. That got me thinking about it again. By then I’d stopped drinking altogether. There was no huge reason for this beyond that I didn’t really like how it made me feel; I didn’t like losing what little mindfulness I usually man- aged in my daily life. (Buddha’s fifth precept forbids any “intox- icating liquors” for exactly this reason, although the prohibition isn’t widely observed.) Since alcohol wasn’t something I liked that much anyway, it was easy for me to give up. But on July 27 that year, I decided to have another Guin- ness. Now no matter where I am, I have one every year on that date. And every year, I feel the same rush I felt the day I fished Ivy out of the pool. Some years I’ve gotten together with Ivy’s family, but often I’m just with my own kids or even alone. It doesn’t matter. I started calling this little tradition Ivy Day, and it’s the best thing in the world. It reminds me that I was once in the right place at the right time and hap- pened to be paying attention, which is perhaps as much as we can hope for in this life. Every year, once a year, it’s the taste of perfect peace. ♦ weeserugs.com | 773.908.9009 TRADITIONALLY WOVEN TO LAST LIFETIMES Using 100% Tibetan wool and silk, and traditional techniques that preserve a history and culture, Weese’s contemporary rugs bring elegance to your floors A percentage of proceeds is donated to The International Campaign for Tibet MARCIA WEESE RUGS Hand-carded, hand-spun and hand-knotted by Tibetan refugee women in Nepal. LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2019 22 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE