By Rick Bass
2021 has been a challenging and dynamic year. Many I know have shared their experiences dealing with tremendous personal loss of life (relative or close friend). It helps to pause and reflect on how these difficult times can shape us all for better or worse and to be present minded and live without regrets.
I believe we have choices.
These difficult life transitions can serve to instruct those of us who make the choice to listen, reflect and share our stories of loss and remembrance. Being present for one another can be a powerful and a deeply spiritual experience. The validation of one’s story can be a healing journey for everyone.
On a personal note: I was blessed to know an elderly Jewish couple who survived Auschwitz Concentration Camp. I befriended their son who suffered an injury resulting in brain damage. I became his friend and mentor. I often think about this humble and amazing family (If you only knew the heart wrenching stories they conveyed to me). Those memories are seared into my mind. They have since passed. I also just lost a veteran friend of mine who was a US Marine and died of complications due to agent orange while serving in Vietnam. These losses are always hard to accept and process.
I am often reminded of Vickor Frankl, the Viennese neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the German concentration camps and his timeless quote from the book, Man’s Search for Meaning: “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
With choices comes responsibilities. We could decide to serve those in need and build a stronger, healthier and kinder community; we can also be present when someone is in crisis or when a personal loss has occurred. To simply live by the Golden Rule – treating others as we wish to be treated.
The Vail area is blessed with fresh air, open spaces and mild weather. We live in an area that gives us hope and reason to believe our greater future is possible if we choose to act responsibly. We can all work to preserve our beautiful Sonoran Desert ecoregion and our great quality of life.
The Vail Ready website has been created to be a resource of information and engagement. Please check the web site: vailready.wordpress.com for the latest updates and current events.
Happy holidays to all during this special season of religious celebration.
I would like to share a famous old Irish blessing that best describes my prayer for our community.
“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rain fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.”
Rick Bass is a USAF Veteran. He has extensive background in crisis management, suicide prevention and re-source development for the disabled. A lifelong community volunteer and a new age music composer, he enjoys the expansive beauty of the Vail area.