By Bill Fox/Columnist
Hopefully we are all fortunate enough to have friends that have helped us to survive the emotional and social drawbacks of being isolated while COVID precautions are in place. Other than my wife and family and other close friends, I particularly am appreciative of two other friends.
The first friend I will call “Hal.” Hal is in his early 80s and has been a great support and ‘soul brother’ during trying times over the past few years. We usually chat on the phone every other day or so. Hal has some health issues right now that are starting to get him down a little. He had a major heart attack a few decades ago, and now, with old age, he is confined to walking with the aid of a walker. Like myself, he too is a diabetic and is always checking on my blood sugar levels. I don’t take my levels every day, but knowing Hal is going to ask, I have increased my ‘jabs’ to almost daily. Hal has also had some recent concerns about his blood pressure, and medical professionals are concerned and are trying to help him to deal with this issue as well.
Let me say that I have been very fortunate to have had two great family doctors while moving to Oshawa over 35 years ago. However, Hal, who lives in Whitby, has not been so fortunate. What would your reaction be if on more than one occasion, your doctor outlined five ways that you will probably die? If you didn’t have high blood pressure and stress before visiting this unethical doctor, you might get it after as a result of his comments.
So long ago, I was lucky enough to spend a day with Dr. Viktor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl survived Auschwitz, and as a result, wrote his book about how he survived while others gave up and perished from the harsh conditions. I would like to share a few of Frankl’s quotes that may be of some help to many today who might feel frustrated and at times maybe need more hope to get through their present conditions.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
― Viktor E. Frankl quoting Friedrich Nietzsche.
If you find a why, then you can bear anyhow. This is one of the most profound statements of Frankl’s book. If you find your purpose, then you can overcome any challenge life throws at you. Finding meaning in your experiences and having a purpose, such as being an inspiration to others, can help you to overcome many of life’s hardships.
Frankl also believed that we can choose our own attitude when he says, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
There are, unfortunately, many things outside of our control, like this pandemic, and they can impact our lives greatly. Outside circumstances, like the comments of Hal’s doctor, often hit hard, and can make life very difficult.
My second friend I’m remembering today, I will call “Cathy.” Cathy is also an older woman who lost her husband John a few years ago. We struck up a friendship after she contacted me through The Oshawa Express. Cathy does not have a computer. We have been exchanging letters every few weeks, but recently I have not heard from her. I trust she is still at her same address and that her health has not deteriorated.
So, for my two friends, “Hal” and “Cathy,” please know that you have impacted my life, and I am grateful for your friendship and trust you can overcome any obstacles to your serenity and happiness.
I’m at email@example.com starting to make a “grateful list” of all the people and things I have been blessed with.