There is another event that I will always remember, one that occurred during the years that I was a single parent and wrote a column for the <em>Philadelphia Inquirer</em>. Each week I would respond to one letter in as much depth as my word limit allowed, hoping my thoughts and examples gave readers something to help them decide for themselves how to proceed. I tried to answer all letters not printed personally.
One day I received a letter from a very young girl haunted by the death of a loved one, for which she felt responsible. I always kept these letters in very private places, but in responding to this letter, I was interrupted by something in my personal life, and I never could find the letter again. If I received such a vital letter now, only an emergency, and surely not an interruption, would have caused me to be so careless. I have often hoped that somehow my path and the writer's path could cross; I could hear how she is, and I could apologize.
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6. A sure way to learn about what is important and avoid the pitfalls in life that can be avoided is to talk to or read about the lives of those who have lived, learned and endured.
The wisdom of my teachers and mentors is finally something I can grasp. These thoughts are echoed by Rainer Maria Rilke: "If it were possible to see further than our knowledge extends and out a little over the outworks of our surmising, perhaps we should then bear our sorrows with greater confidence than our joys." And learn from them how to find sustaining fulfillment and joy.
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