Today marks exactly two year years since I decided to end my marriage and I’ve been so preoccupied with the joy that it is my only surviving grandparents’ 85th birthday that I didn’t remember this other significant date until just now as I type this.
Many would look upon such a day with sorrow and possibly some regret but I look upon this day as one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself – a difficult one, no less. As I retrospect on our life together, I do not for one second intend to play a victim as that time has long passed. When I dig a little deeper, I realize that if it weren’t for this decision, I have no clue where I might be today – desperately unhappy is the only certainty. Although, I can’t imagine my life getting much darker than it already was with David, I am sure that it was possible which is the whole reason we make choices toward change, right?
Making decisions to change an aspect of our lives that we find mundane, boring, unfulfilling, whatever it may be is difficult! Change is terrifying but if we don’t take that step or those steps to change whatever it is that is not serving our soul then we will remain in a perpetual cycle of displeasure and that’s an understatement. We have no one to point fingers at except ourselves if we do not work toward changing the part or parts of our lives that are unsatisfactory.
This past Sunday, I had the extreme honor of witnessing a ninety-one-year-old holocaust survivor deliver an inspiring speech on his extraordinary life during a visit to Los Angeles’ Museum of Tolerance.
Mr. William Harvey wasn’t even the scheduled speaker for that time slot. He happened to be visiting the museum just to say hello when the scheduled speaker could not make it due to illness. His compassionate response when asked if he could fill in: “I couldn’t let the public down.” Again, I hear you Universe.
“This is the type of person our youth should be idolizing. This man is hero material,” I thought to myself. At the young age of twenty-two, Mr. Harvey was liberated from Buchenwald concentration camp weighing a mere seventy-two pounds. His harrowing tale sincerely altered my perspective on life.
He spoke of his mother and how hard she worked raising six children, as the motivation behind his will not to give up during his imprisonment. In so many of his ideals, his values and his morals, I heard an echo of myself while gaining immense encouragement from his anecdotes of extreme struggle and heart wrenching survival.
This is a man with incredible experience, courage and tenacity – a man who was given a choice between remaining a victim or making something of the life that he fortunately still had unlike so many of his loved ones. He chooses to live in such a way that he looks forward to every single day that he awakens for it’s an opportunity to do something good in the world, to give back to someone else.
In no way am I comparing my struggles to his – I am simply drawing the valuable perspective that I gained. How could I possibly justify not manifesting the changes that I see necessary to fit my desires and accomplish my goals, to better my character and further my self-awareness? I left the museum that day wondering how any of us could justify remaining in a complacent state of being, of merely existing and not living! It’s as if we have forgotten history or perhaps, some of us are just turning a blind eye because we fear the change is far greater than any we could manifest alone. If only each of us could understand that true, necessary change begins with a single human being. I think the moment we all start waking up looking forward to each day with the knowledge and power to do something good is the moment that change will be enacted.
But what will that take?
Thank You, Mr. Harvey, for dedicating your time, your energy and for giving back to humanity and to your community. This world needs more individuals like you.