It's the simple things in life that I like, but it hasn't always been that way. There was a time in my life when everything looked dark.

It was a time when my children were the only source of light in my life.

I was disappointed in myself that I descended so deeply into a dark frame of mind that the growing self-resentment only made each day more depressing.

I took refuge in the stories I wrote, escaping my own reality creating new ones and sleeping like a character with a life much better than mine. I was trapped within the boundaries that I had created for myself, preventing feelings other than self-pity and disappointment from residing and growing freely.

It might sound a bit dramatic to those who, fortunate enough, have never experienced inner despair.

Unfortunately, most people can relate to how difficult it can be to climb the peak of the depression, especially if they have been residing at the foot of the mountain for some time. But with every minute, every hour, and every day that we sit still, we have a greater tendency to get comfortable with those limits.

The mountain becomes part of the scene that we soon failed to see and the journey that we had to travel to reach our destination is postponed or, worse still, never conquered.

Life began to change when I realized that it was not my environment that controlled me but I who controlled my environment. I was the one who dimmed the lights in my own world and I was the one who needed to slowly increase them.

It was during that journey that I took a second look at my life, realizing that my children needed me. They deserved a mother who could give them light in their own dark times, guiding them to a better life than she had allowed me during those hopeless times. They deserved a mother to conquer and move mountains to share with them the wisdom she gained for the day they began their own journeys.

They would learn that happiness is a gift that we give ourselves and that no matter how lost we sometimes feel, continued movement in faith will eventually bring us to our top.

It was at this time that I began to find the good in all the things that I had ignored in my unconscious. I began to notice everything that I had overlooked outside of myself due to my previous self-indulgence in my inner misery.

I found that it was the little negative things in life that controlled me and that the little positive things would set me free. Just as I had sought out and allowed any negativity to rule me, I began to search for all the positives that could eventually set me free.

I started taking one step at a time, falling at times, but getting up with my goal in mind as it became more and more visible with each step. Using my own internal compass and creating my own stretches, I conquered achievement after achievement until eventually I mastered the art of climbing.

We deal with disappointment and depressing experiences every day of our lives. Let us be aware that these difficult times are our opportunity to grow and learn more advanced strategies to scale our next mountain more quickly.

These difficult times provide us with experience and knowledge that we can pass on to our children and to the world. They grant us wisdom that, when we look back, will allow us to stand proud and surprised at how far we have traveled. SOnly through hardship can we rest at the top, look at the horizon around us, and rejoice beyond today's imagination about how beautiful life really is and how truly lucky we are.

Michelle C. Ustaszeski


Who among us does not face challenges in life every day?
What's more, we all want to be able to live continuously at the top, although experience shows us that such a dream is impossible since life presents us with all kinds of circumstances that lead us to make decisions, sometimes wrong and sometimes right.
The problem is that we never really know how our decisions will turn out. But what we can do is learn from failures and experiences both from ourselves and from others. That way we will be putting ourselves in a better position to climb the mountains in our lifetime.

If perhaps that seems very difficult to implement, why not approach the One who can give us the necessary wisdom?
Go ahead and may the Lord continue to bless you.

Raul Irigoyen
The Chaplain's Thought