Life is full of so many stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Of course the media is filled with many of these “big” stories about people overcoming horrific physical or emotional challenges, but there are also many little stories about the courage, strength and the indomitable human spirit it takes just to overcome the pesky, everyday obstacles life throws in our way.

As I move forward toward the goal of making Adventures Of Puss ‘N Dick-A Survivor’s Guide To Relationships into a viable animation series and all the ancillary creative works that accompany it (My Weekly Blog and Voices For Fun), these stories about people walking through these “potholes” that randomly dog our paths, help keep me going.

Just the other day during a business lunch at Basecamp Dinette (one of my favorite eateries and a great place to have an uninterrupted conversation, business, pleasure or mixture of both), I heard two stories that reassured me that the life force is alive and capable of kicking butt when we call upon it to do so!

One of us, the mother of a 15-year old son, commented about how terrific it is that so many young people her son’s age are uniting and taking a stand on gun violence. They are actively letting politicians know that if they did not change the gun laws their future votes would go to other politicians who would. The discussion then turned to determination. She told us how her son, a ball player on his school team had been hit in the eye with a baseball during a game. After the doctor assured his mother and the boy there was no permanent damage, he energetically announced that he was excited to get back on the field for an important game the very next day. He was determined, even with the some pain, to be there. Although she was concerned, it was obvious she was proud of her son’s decision to show up for his game.

That story brought up another one, shared by our male friend, a talented voice and on camera actor. Several years ago, when he hadn’t worked for a while, his agent called and told him he had an audition for a pilot the next day. Our friend was excited! A chance to work! Yippee!!! And then he realized that one eye was beginning to droop slightly. It wasn’t too noticeable, but it was scary. He did the audition, because that’s what we actor’s do; show up! Afterwards he consulted his doctor who informed him that he had a case of Bell’s Palsy, which may be caused by a virus and leaves one side of the face weaken & paralyzed so it droops. The drooping varies in severity as does the length of time the condition lasts.

You can imagine the thrill and shock my friend felt when his agent called and said he got the pilot. After the panic subsided, he got to work figuring out how to infuse his affliction (the droop of mouth and eye) into the character of the rough and tumble Cockney he was playing. Talking out of the side of his mouth helped him make the Cockney accent even more believable and the contortion of his face became part of his character’s quirkiness. When he wasn’t needed on set, he rested in his trailer, sustaining his energy and keeping his attitude positive. Instead of the 2 or 3 planed scenes, he was in 7. The director complimented him on his work, and all week long no one seemed to notice anything unusual. As he was leaving the last day of shooting, the director looked straight at him and said in a voice no one else could hear, “Bells Palsy, huh? I had it too. Good job.”

Later that day I was reflecting on how remarkable the life force is and sometimes it takes every once of it to get through the day. My mind wandered to a dear friend of mine. She’s a lovely, vibrant talented actor and writer who’s gone through a hellish 5 years. She watched a grown daughter suffer through a battle of cancer. And although her daughter lost the battle, when my friend had her own cancer battle to fight, it was memories of her daughter’s courage and sense of humor that helped her survive. Now, faced with some daunting challenges from the aftermath of her cancer and the slow, debilitating process of her beloved husband dying, she manages to get through each day being present for those around her: husband, friends and business associates. Her life force is palpable; it inspires those of us who know her.

She reminds me that some stories don’t necessarily have a happy ending, so I’d better get busy enjoying the moments I have each day.

Each of us has our own journey along the road. At times it is arduous, lonely, painful, sad and intensely beautiful. If we are aware, we listen to the stories around us and gain insight to help us on our travels. If we are patient as we go, we realize that all our stories are connected.

If you have a story you’d like to share, leave it in the comments We learn from each other.

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