John Cali

As some of you know, I grew up in a small American farming town on the shores of Lake Erie in Western New York State. I was surrounded, at times engulfed, by a large family of Sicilian immigrants.

Many of my family were extraordinarily colorful characters. And my Uncle Jack was about the most colorful of the lot.

Jack knew how to enjoy life, how to extract every ounce of pleasure and passion from every present moment.

As a little boy, I just loved being around Uncle Jack. He was so full of energy and the love of life. And it was just plain fun being with him.

Jack knew, better than almost everyone else in my family, how to guiltlessly immerse himself in the pleasures of physical life. Or, as Spirit once put it, how to find the joy in every experience of our lives.

Jack had his challenges. At the age of eight, he lost his right arm in a railroad accident. But he went on to become an outstanding swimmer, sportsman, and successful businessman.

One of his successful businesses was a small commercial fishing fleet. One dark stormy night, in one fell swoop, his fleet was destroyed by fire.

But Jack went on. He never gave up. And he never lost his love of life. He was occasionally criticized, even by some of his own family, for simply–well–having too much fun. And for not taking life as the deadly serious business they knew it should be.

Uncle Jack personifies the joy of life for me. And now, in the autumn of my life, I’ve decided Jack is a magnificent model for me to follow.

Here are Spirit’s thoughts on Uncle Jack.

Spirit

You should all have an Uncle Jack to emulate. The Uncle Jacks of your world are often truly angels in disguise. They are leading the way, lighting the path for you.

Uncle Jacks often appear in various forms and disguises. But they have one characteristic in common–they love their lives and they are brimming over with the intoxicating elixir of the joy of life.

You will often see the Uncle Jacks of your world harshly criticized by their fellow humans. And, almost just as often, you will find the Uncle Jacks simply ignoring the criticism and judgement–and just going on about their merry way. Loving life, seeking joy, knowing all is well.

You would all do well to find an Uncle Jack in your lives. And then study him, or her. Take note of how Uncle Jack finds pleasure in the smallest, seemingly insignificant, aspects of life. The song of a bird at sunrise, the hoot of an owl at sunset, the simple joy of a child playing in the sand, the passion of lovers gazing into each others’ eyes, the ecstasy of your dog as she greets your return home.

There is so much joy in your lives. All you need to do is to look for it, and it is there.

Your great American writer, Mark Twain, once said something like this: “I’ve had many troubles in my life. And most of them never happened.” You have had many joys in your lives–and most of them go unnoticed, unappreciated, and unlived.

Find your own Uncle Jack and follow him. You might be surprised to find he is you