Breaking silence: we have work to do – essay

“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty/and frightened….” ~ Rumi

There are days when the world is too much with us – when the news reports are about the terrifying things we continue to do to each other, when an unexpected telephone call too early in the morning changes everything and there’s nothing you can do about it but pray (for a long time) and to show them you love them, when where you were once able to see beauty in that certain slant of light or find solace in the quietude of that sunset or the ocean; or, the enduring love of that person who gently tries to prod you back to your better self falls on your deaf heart.  A long-loved friend dies – you were better than sisters to each other. The drowning of another friend’s 3 year old son strikes another shattering blow.  Like a slug being hit by salt, you curl up, tight.

You know you’re in trouble; but, can’t find your way back.

Slowly, by constancy, grace, force of will and that invisible Love, a small chink finds its way in.  Belly laughs return. Someone you’ve reached out to after your long silence interrupts your conversation, prays for you, and your heart lifts a little – amen.

No one said this life would be easy; and, sometimes it’s not. But, it’s worth it – every time.


~ Jessan

“…Everything/has to do with loving and not loving/This night will pass./Then we have work to do.” ~ Rumi

Thank You ~ many languages

Thank You ~ many languages


7 thoughts on “Breaking silence: we have work to do – essay

    1. Jessan Dunn Otis | Writer Post author

      No one gets out unscathed, Linda. For some time I’ve said: When you’re happy be happy, when you’re unhappy be unhappy and, then, get back to happy as soon as you can. It’s sort of like that. I’m grateful.

      Thanks for your reply and that this resonates deeply for you.

      Enjoy this day you make/are given; and, be of good Spirit.

      Kindest regards,

      ~ Jessan


  1. Kelly Dorsey, PT

    Excellent observations Jessan- I think your “Breaking Silence” essay applies to a population of residents that I see and treat every day. Aging veterans from wars that are almost forgotten, (WW II, Korean, Vietnam), many with PTSD, Alzheimer’s, cancer of something, and such.

    I get the opportunity every day to listen and learn from a strong group of residents, both male and female, some as old as 95. They are active people- participating in gardening, exercising daily, eating at Japanese restaurants, having candlelight dinners at the California Veterans Home of Fresno. Almost two years old, this home is slowly growing and becoming a place that many are applying to be accepted to a beautiful facility and to be lucky enough to get a room with one occupant. In a city that has more veterans (homeless), than Los Angeles, we have 180 residents, but we will fill another 120 beds before we are at full capacity. I am the physical therapist who has the honor of treating these gems.

    I watch them. They tell me their children don’t come to see them, they miss their deceased spouses, they want to be able to run, dance, walk again. They have pain, infection, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite. Some are very sick and come here for solitude in the last days of their lives. But yet every day, they get up, go to meals, get out of their rooms and continue to LIVE. NO ONE gets out unscathed. I felt that your assessment above is totally correct This is how I have corne to understand aging and the process of living. And yet I am not scared. We can teach them and train them to excel with their limitations. They can teach us how to deal with this human condition. I tell my residents: Keep on keeping on……. Don’t stop your everyday routine.

    I will be them some day. I can predict that my children will not want to come and see me, that I will probably be alone without a spouse, that I will want to be able to jump and play volleyball again, and that I will have some illness that I will not be able to control, that I will be lonely. But I have learned from the content ones. They live life for themselves. They accept their limitations and their current life circumstances. I take notes and I watch their coping mechanisms. I keep on, keeping on…… I get up everyday. If I have a headache, I know that I can’t stay home that day. Love and learn from our elders. They are precious and deserve our respect. Actually, they are the real survival kit.

    Thank you Jessan for your wonderful essay. Keep on keeping on…..


    Liked by 1 person


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