What life doesn’t have its share of struggles? Some are bigger than others, of course, but surely we’ve all known some measure of disappointment, loss, and sorrow. As the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus said, “You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” For Francisco Oller, what matters most in life is how we cope with the challenges that come our way.
Francisco Oller is 19 years old and was born with a rare genetic disease called Pelizaeus Merzbacher. Oller was born in Puerto Rico and lived there until enrolling at Providence College, where he is currently a student. Oller says that his disability has made him a determined, courageous, and very resilient person.
This is a truism in all our lives: We grow up filled with dreams about where life will take us or, better yet, where we will take life. Some of our dreams come to fruition yet, sadly, others are dashed in painful ways. Henry David Thoreau says in the conclusion of his book Walden, in which he details his two-year experience living in his cabin near Walden Pond, "I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." Rabbi Elan Babchuck reflects on his own dashed dreams and how they have taught him how to live a life with real meaning.
Rabbi Elan Babchuck decided to follow his passion and is now a rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Providence. These days he drives a sensible, family sedan and loves nothing more than hitting the road and exploring the world with his wife Lizzie and their son Micah, who, significantly, is named after his late grandfather, Michael.
There are ten words none of us ever wants to hear about a loved one: "I have some very difficult news to share with you." What comes next can't possibly be good; we hope, and perhaps pray, that we have the strength to cope with whatever we are about to hear. In this encore essay, Audrey Kupchan tells us what sustained her after she received bad news about the person who is at the center of her world.
Dr. Audrey Kupchan is a transplanted New Yorker who has been practicing Primary Care Internal Medicine in Rhode Island since 1984. She is a physician with Coastal Medical in East Providence. She lives with her family in Barrington.
Imagine the excitement when you get an electronically breathless Twitter message from a dear friend announcing that she just posted a link on Facebook to a stunningly engaging novel she just listened to wirelessly on her electronic tablet. Does this make you feel warm and fuzzy all over, and just desperate to curl up all nice and cozy with your Kindle? Or, as we hear in Eileen Landay's encore essay, does this all-too-common scenario lead you to wonder where we're headed as a literate society?
Women over 40 come into motherhood in several different ways. What they share is a fierceness of spirit, perseverance and a host of other qualities. Cyma Shapiro, in her work with midlife mothers, aims to dispel myths about this group; redefine women and middle age; and provide these mothers with a voice, face and forum. Her essay about her own midlife-motherhood journey also speaks to this group’s singular truths about the breakdown of all relational obstacles, and love and life choices.
Adults tend to think that life lessons must be learned through decades' worth of experience, complex study, rigorous analysis, and, perhaps, therapy. But the truth is, children sometimes are able to reach astonishingly profound insights about life simply by doing what children are supposed to do, playing games with one another. And that's certainly the case with 13-year-old Raghu Nimmagadda.