Last week our family went on a trip of a lifetime to Hawaii. I am particularly enamored with the “Big Island” of Hawaii, with its wide variety of climates: tropical, volcanic, beach, alpine, desert to name a few. One day we went horseback riding at sea level in the Waipio Valley, followed a few hours later by a mountain drive up the slopes of Mauna Kea to watch the sun set above the clouds at 9,500 feet. It fascinated me that within a short period of time we were able to make such a dramatic transition in climate, altitude and temperature. While we observed the last vestiges of sunlight disappear in the western skies into the clouds and the Pacific Ocean, I thought about our day’s travels in reference to a metaphorical representation of life and a quote from Alexandre Dumas:
“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment. and be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you as a man is what you do when that storm comes.”
So many times in our existence, circumstances can rapidly turn from wonderfully glorious and rewarding, to depressing and epically tragic, and then back again. As our patients go through the ups and downs in their respective lives, our own existences, and those of our immediate family and friends, parallel that same emotional undulation and inevitable crooked path through the generations.
Can you think of some recent memories that were particularly special and happy to you? How about troubled times where you felt depressed and despairing, feeling the challenge to remain hopeful? How did you embrace the joyful times and will yourself through the blue periods?