The last half of 2018 saw me interviewing 10 distinct people learning of 10 distinct stories of lives that were so significantly effected that each had to leave their native country and find their way to the U.S.
The thread that holds all of these stories together is the desire to live their lives not free of stress, but free to stress. There is no doubt that we all have various challenges in our lives. The people I interviewed likely represent challenges faced by some in our country, but for most of us the fear and the unknown that these folks encountered required a resilience that the majority of us will never know.
Each was looking for the freedom that they didn't have before immigrating to America. In one form or another each acknowledged that the ability to choose how to counter stress in their lives here in this country far outweighs having a government-dictated mandate like that which was given in their previous lives, or a presentation of other circumstances that made it nearly impossible to thrive.
I reflect upon my own life as I learn about the lives of others. I have certainly encountered various hardships, particularly familial in the form of cancer and other medical issues confronted by loved ones. These are the hurdles many of us must overcome especially as we get older. However, compounding these human realities, as my interviewees have seen makes their journeys especially astonishing.
It is my hope that you, the reader, will understand that it is the goal of most people to live free of the chains of oppression and to be able to make choices, no matter how difficult, that determine the direction of their lives.