“Just Remember In The Winter . . .”


Those who follow my blog religiously (both of you!?!) likely have figured out by now that I have a SMALL obsession with the game of golf (http://tinyurl.com/p5zds78 , http://tinyurl.com/owkztcy, http://tinyurl.com/nm2s33n, http://tinyurl.com/nb7oure, http://tinyurl.com/obyekyy). What probably is considerably less obvious, however, is that my obsession stems not from the game itself, but from the character it reveals in the people who play (and have played) it at the highest level throughout its rich history and the striking parallels between it and the Game of Life.

A Case In Point:

In 1998, a 17 year-old amateur golfer named Justin Rose burst onto the international golf scene by holing a wedge shot for birdie from 50 yards on the final hole of the British Open at Royal Birkdale (www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPTiNgwd_HM), a shot that catapulted him into a tie for 4th place. It was a feel good moment for the Brits, who had long awaited an heir to the throne of the likes of Vardon, Jacklin and Faldo.  Perhaps caught up in the hysteria created by his improbable success on such a grand stage at such an early age, Rose decided to turn pro the following day.  Many questioned the wisdom and judgment of Rose’s parents and advisors in making that decision, knowing how difficult a transition it is from amateur to professional golf, for even the most mature and seasoned of players, let alone someone who was still in high school; and Rose’s legendary lack of success the following year certainly suggested the naysayers were right.  In all, Rose missed his first 21 cuts as a professional, meaning that, in the first 21 tournaments he entered, Rose failed to qualify for the final two days of competition based on his play over the first two days – a devastating blow to both to the psyche and the wallet of any professional golfer.

In recent interviews, Rose has candidly admitted that his historically inauspicious start left a considerable amount of scar tissue on his soul, as did the death of his father, Ken, who had been so instrumental in Rose’s development as a person and a player, less than 4 years later (i.e., in 2002).  It certainly would have been easy in the midst of his almost unimaginably poor professional start and the gravity of his personal grief, for Rose to throw in the towel and fade away, easy for him to buy into what many of the pundits were saying about him at the time, namely that his “moment at Birkdale” was nothing more than that – just a moment, a flash in the pan – not a harbinger of great things to come, as the British press and many in the golf world predicted it would be that magical day in 1998. Indeed, many men of lesser character likely would have taken that route and, truth be told, few would have blamed Rose if he did.  But Rose took a different approach.  Not unlike sport greats before him who had endured similar hardships and streaks, Rose re-doubled his efforts and before long began to realize the promise he and those closest to him had seen all along.

A few weeks ago, Justin Rose won the U.S. Open at Merion, arguably the most difficult professional golf tournament to win in the world. It was Rose’s first Major Championship – indeed, the highest he had finished in the 37 Major Championships in which he had competed since his 4th place finish at Royal Birkdale as a 17 year-old 15 years earlier.  It also was the first time in 43 years that an Englishman had won the U.S. Open.  How did Rose do it?  How did he get from Point A to Point B?  Well, believe it or not, there was no magic in play, no secret recipe that is uniquely Rose’s.  His journey “back” began, as all such journeys must, regardless of their genesis, with an unwavering belief in himself and his ability to do it.  That belief, in turn, was reinforced by others (e.g., family, friends, coaches, etc.) who also believed and who simply refused, regardless of the frequency or magnitude of the challenges Rose encountered along the way, to be dissuaded in their conviction.  And, inevitably, there was perseverance, patience and hard work – lots of it – hours spent honing the physical skills and mental toughness required to confront, endure and, ultimately, overcome whatever obstacles stood in the way of Rose achieving that which, at least professionally, he most desired.

Now for the Life part:

The longer I live, the clearer it becomes that, not unlike Justin Rose, albeit in far less public settings, most of us will know the bitterness, self-doubt and frustration that accompanies often extended or repeated “droughts” in our lives.  We will be faced with the same questions and choices: Do we throw in the towel?  Do we simply adopt the mind-set of the naysayers in our lives and fade into the background?  Or do we cling to what we know in our hearts to be true, what those who know us best and love us mightily also believe to be true about us?  When those moments come, as they inevitably will with varying degrees of intensity, I hope all of us (talking to myself as much as anyone here) can find a way to reach just a little deeper and “remember, in the Winter, far beneath the bitter snow, lies a seed that with the sun’s/Son’s love in the Spring becomes a Rose.”


It’s Time To Retire The Cape


At one time or another all of us have donned The Cape.

You know the one I’m talking about – the one with the big “S” emblazoned on it; the one we use to first try and convince ourselves (and then others) that we are fully in control at all times; the one that whispers in our ear that there is no power in the Universe, let alone on Earth, so great that it won’t bend, if not break, before our will; the one that assures us there is no mind so sharp or clever that we can’t outwit it; the one that makes us believe there is no “boogie-man” so devious that we aren’t able to defeat it; and, perhaps most delusionally, the one that lures us and those “fortunate” enough to be within our sphere of influence into a false sense of security (i.e., that as long as we’re in the area they are out of harm’s way, insulated from the adversity and uncertainty that is so much a part of others’ lives). In short, it is The Cape, which, worn long enough and with just enough “good” results, makes us believe that we (and through us those we love) are invincible!

Maybe you’re one of the ones who put theirs on at work, where, in a misguided effort to prove your “corporate worth” or, better yet, your indispensability, there is no hour of the morning too early for you to arrive or hour of the evening too late for you to leave, irrespective of what you have to give up or what compromises you have to make to accommodate that level of commitment; there is no project too big or too complex for you to handle on your own – no matter how much more expeditiously, efficiently and expertly it could be handled by properly delegating aspects of it to a willing and trustworthy group of colleagues; and there is no amount of supervisory neglect, criticism or “abuse” that you are not willing to endure in the hope of future advancement or out of fear of losing your job – no matter how unfounded, misplaced, hurtful and/or inappropriate that criticism or abuse may be.

Maybe you put yours on at the bus stop or in the parking lot en route to school.  Maybe your cape is the one that simply won’t allow you to tolerate even the slightest academic misstep no matter how inconsequential it may be to your future; the one that insists you not only take a full load of, but excel in the hardest courses your school’s curriculum has to offer, so that you will be uber-competitive when the time comes to apply for college; the one you rely on to enable you to put on a “brave face” so that you can appear to be unfazed when your peers bully you, bombard you with demeaning and hurtful comments and slurs or ostracize you from the “in group”; the one that demands that you not only participate in, but fight for a leadership role in every available extracurricular activity, so that you scarcely have time to catch your breath, let alone have a life outside of school.

Maybe you quickly put yours on in the garage before you step through the door at the end of an undeniably long day and assume the role of parent, so that you can create the illusion that you have unlimited stamina and strength; that you don’t tire like normal people; that your energy knows no boundaries; that you not only are desirous, but fully capable of being all things to all people at all times; that, unlike most, you have the seeming ability to be in several places at one time; that there is only one speed in the life of a super hero (full out, 24/7); that normal human emotions which might distract mere mortals from the task at hand (e.g., sadness, frustration, anger, hurt, discouragement, moodiness, etc.) have no place in the world where super heroes roam and, therefore, are to be “fixed” rather than felt. In short, The Cape that enables you to create the illusion that you’re perfect – or at least a perfect mom or dad.

Or maybe you put yours on first thing in the morning, while you’re still wiping the sleep out of your eyes – before you get to the bathroom mirror to make that critical first assessment of “you”.  Maybe your cape and the expectation of superhuman perfection that comes along with it are what “prompt” you to look past the multitude of visible and invisible characteristics that make “you” inherently beautiful to the rest of the world and, instead, demand “answers” as to why your hair, your eyes, your complexion, your teeth, your nose, your lips, the shape of your face or jaw line, your neck, your figure, your smile, your eye brows or lashes or some combination of the above haven’t magically “adjusted” or “corrected” themselves overnight so as to more closely resemble the “super image” you (all of us?) have in mind for ourselves – The Cape that makes us oblivious to the reality that NO ONE meets that standard.

Don’t get me wrong: Having worn The Cape in all of these settings (and many others!) over the years, I will be the first to attest to how intoxicating it can be, particularly when you actually appear to be performing at what by most objective measures is a “super human” level.  But, even on its “best” days, wearing The Cape is exhausting and, more often than not, it is downright unhealthy.  Inevitably, we are reminded of our humanity (and all that goes along with it) – as well we should be – and we are forced to let go of the illusion that The Cape instills in us.  Sometimes those reminders come in subtle, almost imperceptible ways – other times we are hit over the head with the Life-equivalent of a boulder of Kryptonite.  In each case, however, the message is the same:  There is a reason Superman/Superwoman have been relegated to fictional, indeed comic book, status – they’re fun to imagine, but no “fun” at all in real life.  Trust me on this one.

From here on out, “Clark” will be just fine – thank you!


On Sticks And Stones And Broken . . . Hearts

sticks and stones

Sticks and stones may break my bones
but words will never harm me.

The Christian Recorder (March, 1862)

A few weeks ago, a longtime friend called in tears.  It seems that she had once again been victimized by her unusually vindictive, manipulative and mean-spirited ex-husband – a “man” she was married to for more than a decade, who once professed his love for her – the father of the 3 children she has been so tirelessly and selflessly devoted to since their contentious break-up several years ago.  She reported that, on their way out of the courthouse, after yet another aspersion-laced hearing in their seemingly never-ending custody dispute, her ex felt compelled to take a final, baseless parting shot: “You’re nothing but a drunken whore,” he said – and with that he turned and walked away.  No sticks, no stones, no broken bones.  “Just” six scurrilous, hate-filled words spewed like venom from the lips of an ignorant and heartless man out of earshot of any witnesses save for their intended target – the verbal equivalent of a Mike Tyson body shot leveled at a most undeserving, already battered heart.  I hardly knew what to say to my friend or for that matter the countless others (men and women, young and old), who have found themselves on the receiving end of such verbal recklessness.

You see, the inescapable truth is:  There are few weapons in the human arsenal more powerful than words.  In the hands of a skillful orator or writer, they can be transformative and do tremendous good.  Anyone who doubts that need only reflect on how relatively few of them it took: to start a nation (“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”); to inspire a generation (“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”); to serve as a catalyst for societal change (“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”); to define man’s conquest of space (“This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”); to capture and unleash a child’s imagination (“Once upon a time . . .”); to convey the criticality of self-belief (“I think I can, I think I can”); to write The Giving Tree; to express complex emotions (“I love you”); or to provide a road map for healthy human interaction (“love thy neighbor as thyself”).

And yet, as my friend’s recent encounter with them so graphically and heart-breakingly illustrates, for all their power to effect positive change, words used carelessly, recklessly or maliciously have an equally unparalleled ability to inflict pain, leave permanent emotional and psychological scars and, on occasion, destroy the spirit, if not the very life, of their recipients.  Indeed, modern day media is teeming with stories of young people who, due to their sexuality, ethnicity, personality, religious beliefs, appearance or simply their uniqueness, have been forced to endure unrelenting verbal, social media and text message abuse.  Some of them, tragically, have decided that taking their own life is the only way out – the only way to silence the poison-tipped verbal darts.  Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.  Maybe, instead, as uncomfortable as it is for us, we should pause to consider the impact words and phrases like – “You’re a failure” “I’m ashamed of you” “You’re a slut” “You’re a fag/lesbo” “You’re ugly” “You’re a freak” “You’re fat” “You’re a nut case” “You’re crazy” “You’re retarded” – can have on the sensitive, if not already fragile spirit/psyche of a “just-wanting-to-feel-like-I’m-loved-and-I-belong” middle or high school student – and even on adults.  I mean it: I want you to actually take a moment and imagine those words (or words like them) being seared into your soul.

I’m reasonably confident none of us would consider playing with a loaded firearm or a stick of dynamite for that matter – anymore than we would cavalierly toss around a machete or a hand grenade.  Instead, fully cognizant of their inherent danger and power to injure, we would be careful to treat all of the above with the respect they deserve.  And so it should be with the words we choose to direct at others – and at ourselves.  We simply must start being more cognizant and respectful of the potentially life-altering power of our words.  We must be more prudent in how and when we use them and more thoughtful of the impact they are likely to have (and the feelings they are likely to engender) in their intended recipients – before, not after, we utter them.  We fail to do so at a potentially “irremediable” cost to those who, like my friend, already are struggling to deem themselves worthy of goodness, kindness and love.  That’s simply too high a price to pay.  All of us can do better.  We must do better – and we must stand up and be counted when others fail to do so in our presence.  Remaining silent is not an option. Hearts (and lives) quite literally are hanging in the balance.


We All Fall Down


Dear Ashley,

As you know, I seldom go for my daily walk at 4 o’clock on a work day afternoon. But about a year ago, for no particular reason (or so I thought), I made an exception – and I’m very glad I did.  As I came to the round-a-bout at the corner of Segovia and North Greenway, I saw a little boy pass in front of the church on his bicycle just ahead of his dad. I could tell from the nervous wobble in his handlebars and the not-exactly-straight path that he was tracing on the sidewalk that the little boy was just learning to ride a two-wheeler, but he was doing a great job for a beginner. I smiled to myself as I continued on my way remembering, like it was yesterday, teaching you and your brother to ride when you were that little boy’s age.

A few blocks later, I looked up and, in the distance, saw the bike in a heap next to the sidewalk and the little boy sobbing in his dad’s arms. By the time I arrived at the “scene of the accident” the little boy was back on his feet standing next to his now upright bike. His dad was trying, unsuccessfully, to coax him to get back on. I stopped and got down into a catcher’s squat so that I could see into the still tear-stained eyes of the little boy. Not gonna lie, his dad was a little freaked out at first! “Excuse me,” I began. “Was that you I saw riding this bike way back there at the church?” He nodded, shyly. “Do you mean to tell me that you rode this bike all the way from that church to here and this was the first time you fell down,” I asked. He nodded again, this time with the slightest hint of pride. “That’s AMAZING,” I blurted out. “You are a really good bike rider!” “See, I told you,” his dad chimed in. “What do you say?” “Thank you,” the little boy responded.

Seeing an opening, I continued. “I don’t know whether your dad told you this,” I said, “but everyone who rides a bike falls off from time to time – even your dad and me.” He glanced up at his dad looking for affirmation that I was telling the truth. “He’s right,” his dad quickly responded. “But here’s a secret your dad may not have told you,” I whispered: Only really brave bike riders get right back on their bikes and start riding again.” I paused for a moment, got up with a smile, wished him luck, told him to keep up the good work and headed off down the sidewalk. A block and a half later, I looked over my shoulder and saw the little boy speeding back down the sidewalk with a renewed sense of confidence, a few “battle scars” and a smile from ear-to-ear matched only by my own.

Would that little boy have gotten back on his bike if I hadn’t stopped? Probably. Would he have gotten back on it with the same sense of confidence and a smile? I’m much less certain of that. Would I have had the wisdom and courage to offer him the few words of praise and encouragement that I did five years ago? I seriously doubt it. You see, Ashley, you were the one who, through your suffering, taught me the importance of seizing moments like that one. You are the reason that little boy got back on that bike. It was your “voice” (albeit with me acting as your spokesperson) that gave him the courage, despite his fall, to get back up, brush himself off and give it another try. He and I thank you for those gifts – from the bottom of our hearts.

With All My Love,



Living Like A Hall Of Famer

DiMaggio Card

My son has always loved sports statistics.  In fact, I’m only barely exaggerating when I tell you that I’m pretty confident that, before he could even count to 10, Greg could tell you the batting averages of each of the players in the Braves’ starting line-up (or at least he knew where to find them)!  His fascination only intensified as he grew older and began playing sports himself.  During his youth league baseball days, Greg insisted on keeping detailed stats not only of his own performance (e.g., pitching, hitting, fielding, etc.), but of the performances of each of his teammates.  And to this day, he routinely scrutinizes the statistics of those who play golf on the PGA Tour.  I’m not sure why he developed such an interest in stats, except that he (and, to a lesser extent, his sister) have always preferred to “measure” themselves (and others) by “objective” standards.  Simply put, they were never much for activities and outcomes that were too heavily dependent on another’s subjective evaluation of performance (i.e., when the “fairness” of result could be called into question).

Of course, statistics are interesting things.  Some say “they don’t lie”, while others believe “they only tell part of the story”.  The older I get, the more I tend to fall into the latter category!  As I reflected on all of this today on my morning walk, I was reminded of an interesting encounter in 1995.  We were eating dinner with several of Greg’s little league buddies and their families at a neighborhood Italian restaurant where Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio often dined.  In fact, he was there that night.  I knew “Joltin’ Joe” wasn’t keen on being disturbed, particularly during dinner, but I very much wanted the boys to have an opportunity to meet the legend.  So, I waited patiently until Joe had paid his bill and followed him and his companion out the door – boys in tow (still in their uniforms).  “Excuse me, Mr. DiMaggio,” I said.  “I have a few young men who would very much like to meet you.”  Surprisingly, given what I had heard about the man, he was extremely gracious and warmly shook each boy’s hand.

“Looks like you all are ballplayers,” he remarked.  They nodded shyly.  And then he turned to Greg and asked “how the season was going.”  “Not very good,” Greg replied, “we’re 2 – 10!”  “But,” he quickly added, rather matter-of-factly, “I’m having a pretty good year.  I’m batting .700.” Joe took a step back to emphasize his astonishment. “.700?!?” he quipped.  “I wish I could have hit half that well!”  And with that and a smile, the Yankee Clipper was off.  It was a very memorable moment for the boys – the chance to meet one of the true baseball greats of all time – and, obviously, for me as well.  In fact, I thought the exchange between Greg and DiMaggio was sufficiently priceless to use it as a cornerstone for my “year-end” letter that year.  But, it wasn’t until today that I realized there was a far more profound (and serious) truth to be found in that seemingly innocent exchange – one that occurred to me for the first time some 18 years later.  I can be a little slow on the uptake sometimes.

DiMaggio was right of course.  In his 13 years in the majors, he hit above .350 “just” three times, before retiring with a lifetime average of .325 – 41st best among all who have ever played the game.  Simply put, DiMaggio got a hit only 3 out of every 10 plate appearances.  That’s not to say that every time he went to bat he didn’t expect to get a hit – I’m certain he did.  It also doesn’t mean he didn’t work hard during the regular and off seasons to try and constantly improve, so as to enhance his chances of getting a hit.  To the contrary, he likely worked harder than most.  Moreover, it doesn’t mean he gave less than the best effort that day’s life circumstances would allow when he stepped to the plate – most major leaguers and all Hall of Famers usually do.  What it does mean is that despite his expectations, preparation and effort, DiMaggio fell short of his intended objective (i.e., a hit) 7 out of 10 times!  Why?  Because, truth be told:  It’s hard to hit a baseball.

DiMaggio is hardly unique in that respect. In fact, if you were to spend a few minutes examining the Hall of Fame careers of a number of popular players in various sports, as I did when I returned from my walk, you might be surprised to learn how relatively infrequently they were “perfect” at their craft in their stellar professional careers. Terry Sawchuck, for example, holds the National Hockey League record for most shut-outs by a goalie: 103.  Sounds like a lot, but when you consider that a goalie’s job is to keep pucks out of the net and that Sawchuck played 1,077 games in his career, that statistic, though best among all NHL Hall of Famers, means he fully succeeded (i.e., was “perfect”) at his craft less than 10% of the time!

Similarly, Nolan Ryan is considered one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history.  As a pitcher, it was Ryan’s job to get hitters out – either by striking them out or forcing them to hit into an out.  And yet, in his 807-game professional career, Ryan only threw 7 no-hitters – a league best admittedly, but it meant he succeeded at his job “perfectly” less than 1% of the time!  While I could go on endlessly, one final example will suffice.   Most basketball fans will agree that Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players of all time.  Indeed, he was paid handsomely to make shots.  And yet, in what indisputably was a Hall of Fame career, Michael Jordan made less than ½ of all the shots he attempted from the field (a “measley” 49.7%).

I wonder how many of us would raise our hands if we were asked whether we would be satisfied with the “success rates” enjoyed by these and other Hall of Famers.  It’s a bit of a rhetorical question, of course, but one that’s worth a moment’s reflection, as are several of the questions that logically flow from it:

Why do we hold ourselves (and those around us) to a far more exacting standards in playing the “Game of Life”?  Why do we continue to insist on perfection (or at least our or others’ perception of what perfection is) in all aspects of our lives – the way we look, the words we speak, the work we are asked to do (whether it’s in the classroom, the boardroom or somewhere in between), in our interpersonal relationships, in the way we practice our faith, etc.?  Why in “the arenas” of our lives, which include far more variables and uncertainties than the playing fields on which all of the Hall of Famers mentioned above competed, do we expect ourselves to be better than the best that have ever played their games?  Why must we “bat” .700 (or better!!!) all the time to be satisfied with ourselves?  Why can’t we find contentment living with a “success rate” that would more than qualify us for induction into any reasonable “Life Hall of Fame”?

The answer is: we can – indeed, we must, because the alternative is downright unhealthy, if not self-destructive.


How Would You Eat An Elephant?


Sooner or later, all of us likely will undertake (or be “asked” to undertake) a task that seems bigger than we are – a challenge so monumental in scope or complex in nature that, by all objective measures, seems undoable by mere mortals, let alone achievable in the time that we’ve allotted or, more likely, has been imposed on us by others.  Sometimes, we will have voluntarily chosen to take on the project, perhaps not fully appreciating its magnitude at the time.  Such might be the case, for example, if: (1) having absolutely no prior experience, you were to commit to organizing an event to benefit a local or national charity and to growing and hosting it for years to come; (2) being a proverbial “couch potato,” you were to wake up one morning and set your sights on running a marathon, competing in a triathlon or climbing one of the world’s highest peaks; or (3) on a more serious level, you were to agree to use your newly-acquired education, limited experience, but considerable intuition and gifts, to try assist a young couple desperate to open a line of communication with their autistic son, knowing it’s an uphill battle  and that others, arguably better educated and more experienced, already had tried and “failed”. 

More often than not, however, such challenges are foisted upon us by others or by life circumstances wholly beyond our control – too frequently when we least expect or are prepared to deal with them.  Maybe they come in the form of an illness or addiction afflicting us or a loved one.  Maybe we are born (or are the parents of a child born) with them (e.g., a congenital birth defect, a physical or developmental disability, etc.).  Maybe, despite being highly-skilled and having enjoyed a long and productive professional career (and through absolutely no fault of our own), they emanate from our suddenly finding ourselves out of work, another victim in the downturn in the economy.  Maybe they arise in the wake of our having lost a parent, a child or a loved one too young.  Maybe we’ve simply made a mistake or hurt someone we love profoundly and, despite our best efforts, we just can’t see a way to “correct” it or fully put it in the past.  Or maybe the challenges are not nearly that personal and arise instead from a boss or employer who has delegated a task to us and established a deadline that a small army couldn’t meet.

Regardless of whether the mountain is one we’ve chosen or one that has been unceremoniously dumped in our lap, the initial reaction is almost always the same: sheer panic, followed by an anxiety attack, occasionally, if the surroundings will permit, a cascade of tears and then, inevitably, paralysis.  I know – because I’ve been there a time or two in my now (dare I utter the words?!?) 55 years on the planet!  Simply put, the road from start to finish seems too long, too treacherous, too steep, too lots of things to successfully navigate.  And, perhaps, viewed in its entirety (i.e., as an undivided whole), it is all of those things – and more, which is precisely why you can’t view such challenges in their entirety.  Instead, you have to search for ways to deconstruct them, to break them down into manageable pieces, to discipline yourself to start down the path, even if it’s by baby steps, pausing along the way to acknowledge your progress, re-evaluate your course, if necessary, and re-commit to taking the next step and then the one after that.  It’s a journey that requires a considerable amount of discipline, patience and, at times, a willingness to tread a little water.

Interestingly, experts in the field will tell you that this concept is particularly important in battling eating disorders and addictive illnesses – where recovery can often seem like a destination that is “far away” and unattainable, which, in turn, can lead to an even greater sense  of hopelessness than the sufferer already is experiencing. If, however, recovery can be re-defined as a way of living that begins in the next 5 minutes, rather than a distant destination to be arrived at some day in the future, choices that are both realistic and achievable can be made in the moment (i.e., where relationships, addictive behaviors, sharing, asking for help, honesty, accountability, facing fears, etc. are concerned) that can make a meaningful difference and foster hope. My friend, Michael Berrett, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts on such matters, will tell you that, over time, these incremental “recovery moments” add up to real progress, until eventually “recovery time” begins to overtake “illness time.” Significantly, as it does, those afflicted can more clearly see the reality of options, choices, progress, and recovery in their lives – and they can see it NOW, which, in an age of instant gratification/fulfillment, can make all the difference in the world!

All of which brings me back to where I started:  How would you eat an elephant?  Of course, you wouldn’t – at least not voluntarily.  But, I’m willing to bet that if you absolutely had to, if your life or the life of someone you loved required it, you would and could find a way – one bite at a time!