Grateful for having been given the gift of life 365 days ago

A year ago parts of the muscular organ that is the center of my circulatory system were about to give me the scare of my life because doctors neglected to heed signs they saw on test results that should have called their attention with great urgency. My advice for everyone: 1) Ask for reports when doctors order tests and 2) READ them and 3) ASK QUESTIONS about what they say. If I had done these things sooner I would not have had to pull over in the dark and rain on I-95 and call an ambulance and, without going into all the details, I would not have had the terrifying emergency situation I had.

I thank God for, well, God, my wife Rachel, my surgeon Dr Abeel Mangi, his surgical team, Yale’s cardiac intensive care and recovery units, Yale’s ER, Madison’s emergency medical response team on duty last Jan 3, my friends and family. I think of them all every day and that’s not an exaggeration. I honestly feel that most things I’ve said and thought and have done this past year I’ve done only because of all of them, all of you.

This experience of surviving, albeit not my first, has been a most profound lesson in gratitude and love and living. I’ve never before felt as blessed with as real a gift of life as I have this past year or as grateful for those in my life and all that I have. Happy New Year, and as a dear friend used to always say, take care of you.

Lyrics become more poignant over time

After having something life threatening happen to me, lyrics I’d never think twice about become more poignant: “Don’t tell me your troubles, I got enough of my own, Be thankful you’re living’, Drink up and go home.” (lyrics by the old country singer Freddie Hart)

A 30 SEC READ: A story by Kahlil Gibran

I was strolling in the gardens of an insane asylum when I met a young man who was reading a philosophy book.

His behavior and his evident good health made him stand out from the other inmates.

I sat down beside him and asked:

‘What are you doing here?’

He looked at me, surprised. But seeing that I was not one of the doctors, he replied:

‘It’s very simple. My father, a brilliant lawyer, wanted me to be like him. My uncle, who owns a large emporium, hoped I would follow his example. My mother …. And the story continues. … read the ending here: 30 SEC READ: A story by Kahlil Gibran

I discovered Clowns Without Borders when I was looking online for evidence of laughter in South Sudan

I heard in a news story today on the radio, probably, NPR, that there are 15,000 people living in tents in South Sudan and 1,500 children have been abducted as child soldiers and many have died from starvation and disease. I couldn’t help but ask myself, is there any hope here? Is there any hope in the story of the 1-year-old boy whose name translates into “wholeness,” because, as his mother states, ‘while they’re fighting out there, we’re whole family in here.’

clowns-without-bordersThen I found this ::: Clowns Without Borders was founded in Barcelona in July 1993. The idea began when Tortell Poltrona, a professional clown in Spain, was invited to perform in a refugee camp in Croatia. This performance unexpectedly attracted audiences of more than 700 children, proving to Poltrona that there is a great need for clowns and entertainment in crisis situations.  He founded Clowns Without Borders to offer humor as a means of psychological support to communities that have suffered trauma. Read the UNHCR interview with Tortell Poltrona.

You might think that clowns are scary or silly, but check out Clowns Sans Frontiers’ Code of Ethics:

Code of Ethics

The objective of this code is to provide a series of written guidelines of ethics for all clowns and artists who collaborate with Clowns Without Borders.

  • The clown or collaborating artist will hold as fundamental objectives to better the situation of children who live in crisis situations of whatever type (conflict, natural disaster, social inequalities, etc.) in whatever part of the world.
  • The main beneficiaries of CWB projects are children living in situations of crisis and the clown or collaborating artist will make no distinction between them for reasons of race, age, religion, culture, social situation or any other categorization when offering his/her work.
  • For clowns and collaborating artists participating in CWB projects, volunteerism is the general rule.
  • In respect to the clown/artist’s public image, he/she will not use the participation in humanitarian activities as a means to promote their professional career, separating clearly at all times such activities and not using his humanitarian work for publicity purposes or to promote his/her professional career.
  • The clown or collaborating artist will not use their humanitarian activities to impart personal ‘points of view’ to the destination populations of the projects and will limit themselves to sharing their artistic activities. The artist will not attempt to “educate” the population, refraining from any “evangelical” activities.
  • The clown or collaborating artist, when choosing the contents of his/her performances and workshops, will consider the sensibilities of the destination population, taking into account their culture as well as the delicate situation in which they are living.
  • The clown or collaborating artist when working with CWB projects sees and shares difficult situations. Their work does not end when they return home. They should testify in the measure possible all situations of injustice that they have witnessed.
  • When participating in a project, during our performances and in our contact with the public, we remain clowns and artists, and this is the sole method with which we express and experience the validity of our actions.
  • We remain vigilant and attentive that the name, logo, and identity of Clowns Without Borders will not be will not be used as a vehicle for remuneration.
  • In the matter of seeking financial support, we remain attentive to the ethical values and the respect of human rights of our sponsors and partners.

Learn more about this amazing group here: About Us ⋆ Clowns Without Borders

Connecticut’s Center for Cancer Survivors Opens in Southport

You may be a Republican or Democrat. You may believe in God or don’t. You might like the Giants or the Pats.But at some point, everyone knows someone with cancer.Now there’s a place nearby right here in Connecticut that is geared solely toward helping people who have completed their post-diagnosis treatments and are in the ongoing survivorship in their fight against cancer.

The CT Challenge Center for Survivorship opened in September in Southport, CT with the mission to empower cancer survivors to live healthier, happier, longer lives by creating and funding survivorship programs and research, offering resources, and building a community of support for people who have fought cancer.

For more on this story, visit: Connecticut’s Center for Cancer Survivors Opens – Fairfield, CT Patch.

Thinking of wonderful things on the flying dead bird | CURE

I am thinking even as we do this life-changing work, we can still be defining how great God’s own generosity is. Just the thoughts of floating heavy metals on air, marvelous God’s work. The doctor may also be thinking, “Wow! When holding that injection and applying casts on the children, God’s healing is so superb.”

For more on this story, visit: Thinking of wonderful things on the flying dead bird | Blog | CURE.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑