When Storms Swirl
Listen To the Bard of Avon

I have spent eight decades journeying down my yellow brick road called life. The ancient Chinese venerated people my age because they were wise. That wisdom wasn’t genetic. Instead, the wisdom was acquired over a lifetime of making mistakes. I admit; that I have had a litany of missteps.

In a couple of weeks, Ti Ti and Moh Moh will arrive at O’Hare Airport after spending more than twenty-four hours in the air and waiting in airports for connecting flights to Chicago. Moh Moh will help Ti Ti get used to America and prepare for college. The three of us will see the tourist sites in Chicagoland. When Moh Moh’s tourist visa is about to expire, she will return home to her husband and to her younger two daughters in Myanmar.

As Ti Ti gets ready to attend college, she will hear my litany of learnings about life. Ti Ti named me years ago, PaPa Al. It won’t be long before she calls me Venerable PaPa Al.

Nonetheless, I’m older than most of my readers, except for Methuselah. Therefore, allow me a teaching moment. This photo is of a lighthouse as a storm swirls around it. You will have times in your journey down your yellow brick road that will parallel how the lighthouse keeper felt.

He was all alone.

The lighthouse keeper faced a colossal storm near Brittany, France. What thoughts must have swirled around in his mind? Having been in storms myself, the lighthouse keeper’s choices came down basically two options. One alternative was to give up. The other was to face reality. When I address problems head-on, I notice a strange phenomenon. Often, standing up to the storm can result in initially not being successful. I will return to the issue from another angle. I can’t know in advance whether that innovative approach will work. However, not attempting to resolve the problem is a sure means to failure.

The Bard of Avon wrote Julius Caesar, in which Caesar addresses a problem.

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear, 
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

However, there is an interesting caveat to Shakespeare’s idea. Even when you fail, you have instructed the next generation on how to journey down their yellow brick roads of life.