Everyday Heroisms – Life’s Enrichments


Higher Story by Dolly Castillo

The simple unobtrusive way of life of most people passes on unceremoniously at first glance. Yet, if the surface is scratched deeper, by way of personal stories and revelations shared with frankness and candor, jewels of life lessons surprisingly come up. Sharing life experiences is a powerful conveyor of beautiful, and at times, fascinating food for thought. Permit me to pass on such stories full of human sentiment and wisdom. The sharing is meant to enlarge and enlighten listeners of life’s twists and turns – at times strange, inspirational and defying usual logic. Yet proving once more the power of faith and trust that can overturn what could have been disastrous.

Let’s start with a young woman who suffered a heart attack when she was conceiving her fourth child.  The doctor discouraged her from proceeding with the pregnancy. He strongly recommended ending the life of the fetus. The mother was wracked with guilt, doubts and confusion as she searched her mind for a decision she could live with. Faith, prayers and trust in the Divine are what kept her from going out of her mind. Foremost was still the resolve to keep the baby and brace for any outcome, difficult though it may be. The pregnancy proceeded and though premature, the baby was delivered safely. It was such a hard situation with heart wrenching and risky unpredictable results. The mother and child are happy in their world of being alive, continuing as best they could.

The stories of immigration and being transplanted to a new and different culture revolve on challenges of integration. Uprooting oneself from comfortable and predictable lives and relearning expectations, systems, surroundings is a big challenge. The beauty is such adjustments usually result in fairly successful outcomes. Nobody freaks out beyond control, some manageable frustrations are handled with good sense and practicality and people survive for another hopeful day. Other revelations are the readiness to accept any kind of jobs that will tide the family over in their daily needs of shelter, food and other living expenses. Dignity of labor and earning one’s keep with their own efforts and sweat motivate the people to work hard and honestly. There are no shortcuts, especially when earnings are shared with some needy families back in the old country. The upside is an increase of income with two or three jobs, so more can be shared. The downside is lack of time and energy for the family at home. All of these sacrifices are taken in stride in the hopes of better tomorrows.

In the face of hardships, there are people with big hearts who help and empathize. I know of elders and seniors who themselves are strapped for time, energies and even cash, who still manage to help in their own way. An elderly woman cares for a young boy of a single mother who had to work. The pay is menial, but the happiness and joy the woman and young boy share is a sight to behold. Gurgling laughter and tight hugs renew the souls of these individuals. Priceless are relationships which derive simple joys from each other – lifting spirits from the abyss of human miseries.

Such are the unexplainable mysteries of life. What appears to be hard and frustrating, somehow has some surprising silver lining. People rise up to the challenges of a full life, knowing that pain undergone will transform into happy souls. The richness of peoples’ inner worlds is a mine of intersecting positives and negatives.

It is up to our choices what kind of decency prevails and owning responsibility for consequences.