How Are You?

I can tell by the hesitance on your face before you say it.  You try to catch yourself before the words come out of your mouth because you don’t want to do anything wrong. It’s because you care and you want to know, so let me give you permission to go ahead and ask.

How are you doing?

With me, its ok to ask. You aren’t upsetting me or opening up any new painful memories.  I’m accustomed to living with pain and the tears that accompany it. I’ve learned to hold them in a different place.  I don’t despise the pain any longer. I honor it because I am honoring the reason for why it hurts. The pain is precious because the life of the one I lost is precious.  Weeping is just another form of respect.

When Karen was first diagnosed with Stage IIc Ovarian Cancer in 2010, my first compulsion was to sit down and write about it.  I had just received the bad news from the surgeon in the consultation room. She was in post-op recovery and I was alone in the hospital waiting room.  It would be a few hours before I would be able to see her. This is when I began to embrace the gift I have been given. I went home to chronicle the story.

Its out of this compulsion that I still get up this morning and keep writing ten years later.  Something is creating internal pressure in my heart and words are my relief valve. This is why I’m not afraid of the question.  I want you to know, need you to know and your question creates new connection. Your question tells me that you see me, that I’m not invisible. Karen loved to have me tell her story for her so she didn’t have to.  A new blogpost gave guests permission to go there when they saw her in the restaurant. Who knows, I might be telling your story, too. I may be articulating what you’re feeling, but you haven’t found the words yet. Several authors that have done this for me. I’m grateful for their assistance.

The best way I can describe my compulsion to write is that I’m just a guy with a flashlight, looking around in the dark, trying to find the way to get out of the dark cave and back up into daylight.  Call me a watchman, watching out for anyone else in the cave with me. If you trust me and are ready to go, you may want to tag along. Together we’ll find our way out. And I’ve emerged with some new friends to enjoy in the light again.

These blogposts serve as progress points on my map. I leave them here because somebody I don’t even know might find them and use them to discover an exit from their own dark cave.

About Sunday night, I’m feeling back to normal, even worked out this morning. I don’t know what that heart episode was.  I have some theories, but for now the cardiologist doesn’t seem to concerned. I’ve been under a regimen of ketosis and intermittent fasting for the last two weeks. If you’ve ever done this, you know the transition this requires the body to undergo. So I’m not too concerned.

Thanks for asking.

About Last Night

I had a health episode that caused me to spend a few hours in the ER last night.  I had just finished signing books Sunday afternoon and said goodbye to some visiting friends.  As I closed the door, I felt my breathing change and had to sit down. My heart was fluttering in my chest and beating irregularly. There wasn’t any pain involved which was a consolation, but the uncertainty of what was happening in my body was troubling.

I live alone now.  This means I have new decisions to make that I’ve never had to decide before.  The chief of which was, “What do I do now?” Beforehand, Karen would have made the call for me to take me to the hospital.  That is not an option any longer. So the burden of choice is now up to me.

Initially I thought I should wait it out and see if it passes.  I’ve had this same feeling before, but it usually subsides within minutes, not prolonged like this one.  About 45 minutes into it, I could tell this wasn’t going away. But it still was hard to know what to do. My inner dialogue proceeded: Should I call someone?  What if it’s not serious? What if it is? What should I do?

My conclusion was to drive to the ER and get it checked out. And that’s when it got worse.  When you say shortness of breath to a hospital staff member, you become an immediate priority.  The nurse quickly moved me to a triage bed and started the diagnosis.

The results showed I was having PVC’s, premature ventricular contractions.  The doctor said these are common, which explains why I’ve had them before. His description was “common, but not normal.” Yes people have them often, and usually not serious, but not something to be ignored.  And they most certainly don’t last an hour.” He affirmed my decision to bring myself in.

While lying in the hospital bed, alone in Room 17, my mind started in on me. The dark voices were near. They had the same tone I recall from 2016, when my world came crashing in and it was clear that I was about to lose everything.  I remember standing at the edge of the abyss of despair and feeling hopeless. These demons were back. But not for long.

I recall the day it became clear that no matter how dark my circumstances got, I still have options.  I get to choose which ones I will keep and which ones to burn.

Watching Karen die a long, slow death had some positive effects on me.  I’m less afraid of death now because I cannot control death. I couldn’t for her and I can’t for me.  It’s as if each of us have an invoice with a number of days on it. When that invoice comes due, death has permission to come collect, but not a day sooner or longer. And since I don’t know the number on the invoice, I have a choice to rest or worry.

As  the word got out that I was in the ER, some trusted brothers showed up.  I asked The Son of Jephunah to read some of my promises. I can’t describe the picture in my mind as the words floated over me.  Beautiful comes across like a cliche, but it’s all I got right now.

It elevated me above whatever was happening to my ticker and took me to a higher place of gratitude. I am a blessed man and I always have been. But three years ago I didn’t believe that. I’m grateful for the transformation.

But mostly I’m grateful for the beautiful people in my life.  I am a wealthy man with friends of a lifetime and new friends I’ve yet to get to know yet.

I can’t control the number of my days, but I can control fear. It was a pleasure last night to tell it to leave Room 17.  I’m remarkably better this morning. Don’t worry about me. In fact, don’t worry about anything. It really is a choice.

Make today count.

Hippie Boy

Listen to Hippie Boy by Caroline’s Spine

The power of music is manifest when I can hear a song, even at a lo-fi quality, and the spirit of the song reaches through whatever broadcast medium is delivering it.  I distinctly remember the viral video of Paul Potts’ audition on Britain’s Got Talent in 2007 Within seconds of his performance, I and everyone else in the audience was moved.  What makes music do that to me?

I discovered this next song because it had the same impact on me, as it came via my car radio in 1997.  I was driving my family back home through northern Oklahoma at night. Everyone in the car was asleep and I was moving the tuning knob slowly through the noise to find something to help me stay awake.  The only thing that came in clearly was college radio KXZY out of Stillwater. I stopped and listened.

The very next song I heard over the airwaves invoked unexpected emotion as I passed the Perry exit.

I waited, hoping for a song ID, but nothing. And since Shazaam wasn’t invented, I had no immediate chance to find out who it was.  So I wrote some key words and phrases that I remembered and put them in my pocket for safe keeping

When I got home, I went to the music department at Barnes&Noble and asked the clerk if she could help me find a song.  I thought it might be a long-shot, but after some searching in the database, the title Hippie Boy by Caroline’s Spine appeared.  They actually had a copy in the store, so I bought it and continued my investigation at home.

The lyrics are sung in the voice of a disappointed father, who expresses contempt for his son who hasn’t turned out like he wanted:

My hippie boy don’t want to be a man

My hippie boy don’t want to understand

My hippie boy lives in a volkswagon van

The angst felt something like the fury of You Oughta Know by Alanis Morisette released two year prior. Then at 1:58, the guitars escort the father’s disgust and turns it into rage.

My hippie boy won’t get up off his ass

He don’t care if he fail or if he pass

My hippie boy….I know he’s been smoking grass

It was this point in the song that I realized I was being invited into the pain of a young man, not of the father. It was this same pain that I was hearing in many of the college students I was working with at the time.  Kids that held deep wounds from their own fathers but didn’t know what to do with it despite their pleading attempts to find love and be accepted.

And he said “come sit beside me

Tell me ’bout the things you adore

And please don’t remind me

That I am not the boy you’d hoped for…”

Song: Hippie Boy
Artist: Caroline’s Spine
Album: Monsoon
Released: April 1997

This song made me stop and think about my role as a dad.  My kids were 6 and 3 at the time. What would my legacy be to them? Would it be a song like Hippie Boy, where dad didn’t get what he wanted? Or would I rise to a higher place, one of compassion, of listening and showing empathy?

And what could I offer those who aren’t my children, but those who have been mercilessly rejected by their own fathers?

Behavior isn’t the problem.  It’s the pain underneath that is provoking it.  And fathers have inflicted lots of pain. Address pain and behavior is more easily understood. This awareness changed my perspective. 

All because of a song. 

Your Turn

I’ve written about some of my important songs this week.  I’d like to know some of yours. Would you post one song in a comment below? It could be something that spoke to you during a hard season, or uplifts you no matter what the circumstances. From your songs, I’ll put together a playlist my my own enjoyment.  

Music builds connection for me. Thanks for letting me know a part of your story.

Up To The Roof

What in the world is Blue Man Group?

Listen to Up To The Roof

No discussion with me about  influential music would not be complete without the impact the Blue Man Group had on my life.  And since I will be seeing them a week from tonight, now is a good time to include them here.

My love for art stems from its indescribable effect on my soul. There’s a lot of art I don’t understand, and I have a rule that I don’t speak critical of what I don’t understand.  I stick to what I can discern and leave the rest for later.

Enter Blue Man Group. On a 2001 trip to Las Vegas, our squad of 5 was given 1st row tickets (also known as the Poncho seats) to this exciting new show on the strip.  No one could explain what it was, but to a person they affirmed that it was fun. One reviewer called it “The Omnisexual Promise Keepers for the New Millenium. Not sure what that means either, even after seeing them perform four times.

We took our seats, donned the thin plastic raincoats that were draped over each chair, settled in and waited.  The lights went down and something happened in the Luxor theatre for 90 minutes that blew my mind.

When the show was over, I didn’t want to move.  The other 4 guys were ready to run off and leave some money for the casino on the craps table.  I told them to go on without me. I needed to sort through what I just saw.  So they left me to myself. All I could say, repeating over again, was:

What did I just see?

This is when I know I’ve encountered something transcendent.  I only have a feeling inside. I have no words for it. I can’t talk about it.  I don’t know how. There is no language formed yet. And I didn’t have words for a long time, until I started to identify with the increasing listlessness and boredom I was experiencing in life.

Two years later, BMG released an album with lyrics.  The first show I saw was all instrumental. The only words spoken were from the narrator during the performance. In 2003, the album, The Complex, included some original tracks with guest artists Dave Matthews  and Tracy Bonham filling in on vocals.  Her song Up To The Roof gave the vernacular my heart was missing.

All I see, it’s not for me

What I want, you have not got

Tried to use the things you sold me

No matter what the cost

Tried to go the way you told me

But each time I got lost

The stairs didn’t lead me anywhere

This summed up my faith which was extremely stagnant at the time.  Faith is the central most important element of my identity and I had come to a point where  I was not growing or thriving. There was nothing new coming in, and just a handful of old stories going out.  I was maintaining the status quo of a faith that was handed to me as a young man. It was clear that it wasn’t going to be adequate for the journey that was ahead. I was on a flight of stairs to climbing up to nowhere. I knew I needed to make a change, and that’s what that original encounter with BMG in 2001 was trying to tell me.  I had witnessed creativity that required a step of faith on the part of the team of Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton.  They had an idea, a weird one at that, but they believed in it enough to bring it to the public. Was I capable of doing the same? Not as a theatre show, but to build a place of community, conversation and reflection.

I’m taking the fire escape up to the roof

Don’t care if it’s not the way you find the truth

Time to take this time to rise above

It was my time to rise above.

I experienced the beauty of faith again, of being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I can’t see.  Everything hasn’t turned out as planned since that initial revelation, but my faith is alive again. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

And when I get up that high,

I don’t know what I’ll find

But I’d rather look at the sky

Than wonder why

I let you take my time

Song: Up To The Roof
Album: The Complex
Artist: Blue Man Group (feat. Tracy Bonham)
Released: April 22, 2003

Do You Realize?

Listen to Do You Realize?

I’ve shared in previous posts that the last 3 years of my life have been the most difficult of my 56 on this planet.  But they have also led to my most important discoveries as well. I call it my Season of Awakening. The moment of most significance in this time has been the unfolding of my true and deepest identity. Becoming clearly aware of who I am has changed everything.

Identity is defined as the fact of being who a person is.  We call it Identity Theft because some of the facts about me got stolen and misused against me.  If certain bits of information about me fall into the wrong hands, I am open to serious damage. And I can spend years trying to recover from the invasion.

But my Identity doesn’t’ have to be based on facts.  It can be wrapped up in what I think of myself and who I believe I am. None of which might be true at all. But when I start acting like they’re true, they might as well be.

A piece of my identity was shaped as a young boy that had to start wearing glasses when I was in 3rd grade. In 1970 there was one style of plastic, black rimmed frames also known as birth control glasses. Which thankfully wasn’t an issue in 3rd grade, but it did set me apart from all the other kids in class.  Over time, an identity statement was drafted that I believed about myself; I’m ugly and unattractive. This is what I thought, therefore this is what I believed.

You can imagine it was a brand new day for me as a sophomore in college when I got contact lenses for the first time. I could finally shed the assistance of eyewear.  I could see clearly without glasses. I could now wear cool shades. I could play basketball and not worry about them getting broken. It was awesome.

But it didn’t change my identity that I had forged so many years ago. I was still ugly and unattractive in my mind.

In August 2006, Warrior, the Latvian and I went to see the Flaming Lips in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  It was my first time seeing them live. I remember them from my college days in Oklahoma, seeing their handbills stapled on the light poles all over the campus in Norman. But I never made it to a show.  Frontman Wayne Coyne says of their concerts, “everybody leaves smiling and happy.” It was true for me on that summer night.

I love their music for that reason. And the one song that puts a new smile on my face is Do You Realize. It starts with this line:

Do you realize 

That you have the most beautiful face?

I’ve heard that line many, many times.  It would make me think of friends I knew who didn’t realize.  How could that be? She’s so pretty. Why would she think otherwise? 

But it doesn’t matter what I think about her.  What matters is what she thinks about herself. 

The song took a turn when it dawned on me that the song was a question to me. Do I realize I possess anything of beauty within myself, something worth looking at and enjoying?  The identity of the pudgy, Coke-bottle-glasses-wearing kid, continued into adulthood, even though I no longer needed glasses, lost some weight, got fit and started running marathons. It didn’t matter. I still felt ugly and unattractive.

No, I didn’t realize.

It was an epiphany. For me to truly realize my deepest identity, I must embrace the beauty that resides in my soul. I can’t live a wholehearted life without doing so. And this leaves me terribly vulnerable. But beauty always leaves itself in that predicament. It’s not the skin that makes a person beautiful. It’s certainly not the glasses. It’s the heart behind the skin. Everything about us, beautiful or no, shines through our face, and especially through the eyes. Let your beauty out. It wants to be seen. It needs to be seen.

Do you realize
That you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize
We’re floating in space?
Do you realize
That happiness makes you cry?

Song: Do You Realize?
Album: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Artist: The Flaming Lips

Little Room

Click to listen to Little Room

In 2001, I was on a plane traveling back home from an international trip. On the final leg of the journey I sat next to a young man that had an appearance that seemed to promise an interesting conversation on the hour flight from Chicago to Omaha.  If I describe him dressed in punk style, that picture is adequate for this post.

As we lifted off the ground and settled in, his headphones on his lap piqued my curiosity.  I asked him what he was listening to. He said, White Stripes’ new album, White Blood Cells.  He gave me a condescending look when I said I didn’t know their music. Probably the same look I got when I moved to Nebraska and didn’t know who Bob Devaney was.

That was the extent of the conversation and he retreated into his music and I dozed off until we landed.

When I got home, I went out and bought that CD. (Note: I miss the experience of going to the head shop and buying music, especially LP’s.  I had to wait until I got home to first hear it. That anticipation is lost in this generation.) On that disc was a brief song, LIttle Room. 0.50 seconds of music, half of it gibberish, but it’s been a core reference of mine to find courage to risk and create.

Well you’re in your little room

And you’re working on something good

I’ve been in the little room many times in my life, most notably was the 2 years leading up to the opening of bread&cup.  Warrior and I recall the days of test baking cinnamon rolls in my small kitchen and packaging apple butter for the Farmer’s Market in my low-ceiling basement workspace. He would keep reminding me that we’re in the Little Room, working on something good.

But if it’s really good

You’re gonna need a bigger room

My longtime pal Dick Parr used to tell me “Shinn, I hope you struggle with your success.”  This might seem like a back handed rebuke, but Dick understood what I was walking into. Every entrepreneur knows this.  Success doesn’t come easy and if it does, I need to be aware. Quick success can be a seductive mistress. She can lead me away from the reason I got started in the Little Room in the first place.

And when you’re in the bigger room

You might not know what to do

You might have to think of

How you got started

Sitting in your little room

Artist: The White Stripes
Album: White Blood Cells
Released: 2001

I have a feeling that Jack White understood this dilemma. He doesn’t always seem too comfortable with his success.

So here I am again. I’m back in my Little Room, working on something good.  And it’s not just the projects I have on the board right now. It’s getting my heart back, redefining what life will look like for me in the future.  It’s awakening to all that am inside. It’s working on my new identity now as a widower and not letting widower become my identity. The time has come for me to be alive again.

Hide and Seek

There are times when I encounter something so beautiful, so moving, I am compelled to stop everything I’m dong and pay attention. My good friend Warrior put this next song on a mixtape for me in 2007.  I always appreciate his judgment and perspective when it comes to art. When I didn’t understand Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, I consulted his opinion. He changed my mind immediately.  He saw something I didn’t, and I gained from it.

I clearly recall placing his CD into the player of my old Ford Windstar minivan (very glad I’m out of minivan season) and slowly backed out of the garage. The highly compressed auto-tuned voice stopped me in my tracks, or driveway to be more precise.

Where are we?

What the hell is going on?

Listen to Hide and Seek

It only took 4 bars to feel in my bones that this was going to be an important song. I waited there until the song finished. I recall asking myself, “what did I just hear?”

This is the role of beauty in my world.  It attracts, draws me near, forces me to look and admire.  It doesn’t matter what it is. I’m into flowers, aroma, and the night sky for all the same reasons.  I pay attention to their quiet inner invitation. They draw me in. I’m compelled to respond.

As I sat behind the steering wheel with overflowing eyes, I felt the longing in Imogene Heap’s words.  It’s rumored that she wrote this about her parents divorce when she was 12. This makes sense from some of the imagery she uses. but it doesn’t really matter.  I believe good art should lead me to consider my own questions, not the questions of the artist. I’d love to talk with her about the inspiration of the song, but I would bet she would be just as delighted to know how her art collided with my longings.

Sinking, feeling

Spin me around again

And rub my eyes

This can’t be happening

It is said that Love gives freely and doesn’t seek a return, but it says nothing about not longing for one.   

Oily marks appear on walls

Where pleasure moments hung before

The takeover

The sweeping insensitivity of this

Still life

Hide and seek

Any artist, Imogene included, wants their work to matter.  But your approval can’t be my motive for creating. I’m writing daily now because I have to, not because you tell me you appreciate it.  I love and am very grateful for the comments you post and the feedback you share with me, but this can’t be the reason I write. I sit down at the computer each morning because if I don’t, something will dry up in my soul. And at my age, I refuse to possess an inner life of decay.  My body is aging and I can’t keep up with physical activity like I want, but my spirit never needs to be in decline. I believe my longings are eternal. My body and circumstances are not, so I need to prioritize the things I obsess over.

Rob Bell put it this way when he answered a question from a guy about overcoming his fear of the audience turning on him when he is speaking.  Bell told pointed out his problem was that he gave away his joy to the crowd and they didn’t give it back to him. Great speeches come out of great hearts within great people who do so in Love.

It’s that same tension I mentioned in a previous post All These Places Feel Like Home.  Love must hold the longing to bless in tension with the longing to receive.  I’m always reminded of Solomon’s wisdom on this matter:

It is good that you grasp one thing

And also not let go of the other;

For the one who fears God

Comes forth with both of them.

Spies

This next song has been with me since it was released in 2000. It’s a Song of Songs in my book because of how it has spoken to me over the last 20 years.

After the turn of the millennium, I entered a very dark tunnel, but there was no light at the other end.  Instinctively I knew I had to keep walking toward the darkness if I was to have any hope of finding an exit on the other side. Retreat was not an option. It was a season of spiritual and personal doubt that was exacerbated by major events, 9/11 being the chief of blows. Everything I believed in was being challenged, but Spies gave me an alternative perspective.

As a writer, I believe and adore the power of words, and how the right word given at the right time can make all the difference in the world.  I love how a simple conversation with a thoughtful person can be life-changing. I may begin feeling one way and by the end I sense my back a little straighter, my head held a little higher. The lyrics of this song has that effect on me.  It turns me from despair to hope on two simple words. 

On my bucket list is to have a pint with Chris Martin and ask him personally where this song came from. Because it was so in line with the angst I was feeling. He begins with:

I awake to find no peace of mind

I said how do you live

As a fugitive?

Down here, where I cannot see so clear

I said what do I know?

Show me the right way to go

That was my prayer verbatim.  I had difficulty sleeping. I didn’t know where I belonged.  I had lost direction. I needed some help. He continues:

And the spies came out of the water

And you’re feeling so bad ’cause you know

And the spies hide out in every corner

But you can’t touch them, no

‘Cause they’re all spies

Who hasn’t felt this way? Surrounded on all sides by personal inner demons, aka spies hiding out in every corner. And I can’t do a damn thing about it.  When this happens, I reflexively begin to agree with this feeling of helplessness. And when I make agreements with the spies, I’ve just signed a contract consenting to their terms.

And if we don’t hide here

They’re gonna find us

And if we don’t hide now

They’re gonna catch us when we sleep

And if we don’t hide here

They’re gonna find us

Panic sets in. Negative self-talk becomes rationalized. I gotta go hide or they’re gonna catch me.

But light can appear in the tunnel in a moment and an unexpected messenger find me and change my perspective instantaneously.  When I awaken to discover that the spies I’m dogged by are just that. They are just spies. They hold no true power other than what I signed away to them in the bogus contract.

Spies came out of the water

And you’re feeling so good ’cause you know

And those spies hide out in every corner

But they can’t touch you, no

‘Cause they’re just spies

Spies from the 2000 album Parachutes by Coldplay

That’s why I’m feeling so good these days, 20 years later.  I see through them. They’re just spies

Latter Days

During hospice I had to train myself to pay attention to Karen’s voice, for there were times I would hear my name called out during the night, only to get up and look in on her and she was sound asleep.  It got to the point when I would wake to the sound of my name, I would stay in bed until I heard another call out. Most often there wasn’t a second summoning. I was hearing something that wasn’t there.

I guess this is pretty common. My dad told me he would often hear my voice calling out to him while he was out on the tractor or working in the barn after I left for college.  I know there are psychological explanations for this occurrence, but my intuition tends to look in other places for explanation, namely in my own heart. It’s not rational and wouldn’t stand up to science, but I find I’m right more times than not.  It’s why I lean in to the inner voice. 

Recently, I had an experience with this next song, Latter Days.  The original version was performed by Over The Rhine on the album, Good Dog, Bad Dog in 1996.  But the one that moved me in a new way is covered by Lonesome Animals on Covers/Lovers released in 2018.  It’s a song with which I was familiar, but it took on a new voice, literally, in this new season. The new singer’s vocal is sparse and breathy, much like I remember Karen’s during her decline.

Early one morning last week, as is my regular practice, I listen to a few songs that are currently moving me.  I got this from Al DiMeola at a guitar workshop years ago. An attendee asked him what music he was listening to and he said, “I gravitate toward anything that moves me. It could be any genre. If it moves me, I pay attention.” I’ve heeded that advice.

But that morning, I heard this song in Karen’s tired and lonely voice:

What a beautiful piece of heartache

This has all turned out to be

Grief is painful, but pain does not have to win.  My faith leads me to believe that Joy is the most powerful condition in the world, because it is the constant temperature of Heaven.  The Joy of the Lord is my strength. Pain is a temporary condition. Joy is eternal. Pain will come to pass. Joy will come to stay.

There is a me you would not recognize, dear

Call it the shadow of myself

The hardest part of watching someone die is to have to see that person in a condition that is so far from their original state of vibrance and vigor.  Karen was strong, independent, athletic and always on the go. She hated losing that independence and becoming unable to even get to the fridge for a drink of water.

And if the music starts before I get there

Dance without me, you dance so gracefully

I really think I’ll be okay

Karen was chronically late everywhere we went our entire marriage. She also really didn’t like dancing, but would defer to me on occasion. She was too self-conscious. This was her way of saying I won’t be there to dance with you, but I’ll be OK without you. Please carry on. Don’t wait for me.

They’ve taken a toll, these latter days

Nothing like sleeping on a bed of nails

Nothing much here but our broken dream

Oh, but baby, if all else fails

Nothing is ever quite what it seems

Song – Latter Days · Artist – Over the Rhine
Album – Good Dog Bad Dog ℗ 1996

We had our share of challenges during our life together. One third of marriage was consumed by cancer.  All our businesses failed. We went bankrupt. That’s only part of it all. But despite how it all seems, there is a firm foundation on which I can still stand and rebuild with Hope. Nothing is ever quite what it seems.  This is the message with which I emerge. Yes, they’ve taken their toll, these latter days, but…

…there is always Hope.