Everybody hurts. Everybody has had moments of deep despair. The trick to breathing through the inevitable emotions that go hand-in-hand with being a human being is to remember that just as the sun sets each night, it always will rise again tomorrow.
I have a friend named Cendra Hicks. Cendra is 47 years old, has cerebral palsy and developmental and intellectual disabilities . We met twenty-two years ago through a program called Best Buddies. Although we don’t often see each other (I last saw her when I visited her Milwaukee group home on my road trip around the United States in late 2010), we stay in touch through regular letters and phone calls. She often sends me poems or drawings of the two of us together. Although Cendra is usually a happy woman cracking jokes and doubling over with her infectious hearty laugh, she occasionally dives head first into her sadness. The lovely thing about Cendra is that she transforms her pain into art and then quickly lets it go through a poem, a song, a dance or a drawing.
I love this sweet poem that Cendra just sent me (click on the photo to read it). It’s a reminder that even though I may occasionally “put myself on sad solitary onion lockdown,” all I need is a handful of oregano leaves in order to “smile like a happy dish of hot veal parmigiana.” In other words, life is an emotional pizza, and tomorrow is always another day.