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Life: The Emotional Roller Coaster; Oh What a Thrill

The past few weeks have been a wild ride of emotional ups and downs, and I am certain that the months ahead will continue to intensify.

Most recently, I experienced grief, frustration, and awe.

Grief for the loss of a friend. Short of his 88th birthday, Fellow Rotarian, Ken Halverson passed away this week. He was a wonder to behold: be it his impressive physical stature, smooth velvety vocals, his commitment to community, service, and family, or his ceaseless charisma. Ken was a barbershop crooner that will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. The choir of angels have been blessed with a rock steady bass to fill out the harmony.

I genuinely miss my friend.

Frustration comes from a spectrum of things that are mostly beyond my control. It's probably best for me to work on myself and limit how much I let these frustrations dictate my emotions. Easier said than done, right?

How does the serenity prayer go? Oh yeah...

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

I still have a ways to go with this.

Lastly, I want to note the awe of the week.

As some of you may know, I have been working as a waiter for over a year at a local restaurant to fund this project. When the opportunity presents itself, I inject my project into casual conversation with my patrons to spread awareness about my upcoming hike and the global fight for polio eradication. Majority of people are sincerely flabbergasted and blown away, whether it is learning that polio still exists or that their seemingly normal Johnstown waiter is significantly cooler than originally realized.

Very often, I give my guest a 3.5" vinyl sticker, as shown here.

(For anyone feeling left out, stickers are included with the sale of my custom Owen's Odyssey Buff!)

On this particular night, my mother/daughter guests were very talkative and we had some excellent conversations. We discussed my hike (mom almost jumped out of her chair!), we talked about study abroad opportunities through Rotary Student Exchange, and many other things.

The surprise was after my guests had left. I was a little busy but saw them leave. They happily waved and wished me luck on my upcoming hike. When I got to the table, on top of their check for dinner, mom had left an additional present!!

Let me stress: For a person to go from limited, to no, knowledge about the state of polio eradication and the efforts of Rotary to writing a $100 check within an hour swells my heart and leaves me at a loss for words.

I guess you need to have a few bad days to really appreciate the awesome ones.

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