Artists, crafters, writers, readers, professionals, engineers, teachers, builders, homeless, infirmed, and I could go on, BUT, I mean all of us attempting to live a fruitful life – all have bumps in the road of life. Some have bumps where the experience faced requires climbing mountains.

Several close to me are facing stem cell protocols, bone marrow transplants, blood clots in heart and lungs, and strokes. When I look over the years of my life, I see a long winding road twisting and turning unexpectedly. All those twists were not anticipated; perhaps there were indications, but I certainly did not see nor foresee those turns. Some of those events brought my soul to great heights, while others brought a cloud of darkness at times approaching despair.  While I, as well as you, understand that death is at the end of life and we will lose some we love and then face death ourselves, I defer thinking about it on an everyday basis.

But if I review my life’s course, the bumps I have faced look miniscule next to those suffering around me. Television and social media bring stories of suffering that often stop me in my tracks. I empathize; I cannot help but empathize. However, I must not be paralyzed by my empathy and allow it to negate my life’s mission. I must also not lose my ability to feel for others, to feel their pain, which an overload of horror stories may inure me from bearing witness. I cannot run away from the suffering around me just as I cannot run away from my own problems.

What is my message. It is to be hopeful. It is that we must live our lives witnessing the natural beauty surrounding us in the environment, in the personna of those we love or call friends, in all efforts made by people and organizations whose goals are to bring safety, education and health to us all. Look around you. See those who love you. See those who need your love. Give what you can. Life is worth living in spite of, and perhaps, because of the bumps in the road.

K. B. Pellegrino

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