by Lillibeth Navarro, CALIF Executive Director and Founder We were at the checkout stand at the World Market paying for our purchases when someone from behind the counter informed us that the police were just called after someone jumped from the tallest floor of the shopping center’s parking lot. Needless to say we were shaken because someone tried to commit suicide again. My sisters and I were heading for the bus but I paused to tell them what just happened and as we walked, we were all quiet, sadly contemplating on what just went on. We were far removed from the scene because the parking lot was on the Eastern side of the Grove while we were on the West and did not see any of the pandemonium—the police cars, the sirens nor the commotion. But for me, it was the 2nd news of suicide of the week, a very disturbing, sad trend. My sisters and I made a pact to pray for that person, whoever it was. But what made him or her so desperate, feeling so closed in that the only viable escape was to end it all? The week for me was not so rosy either—in fact, it was laden with heavy disappointment and fatigue. Work, societal and family responsibilities seem just so perennial that they have a rude way of encroaching even in the little spaces of private time and sanctuary I so try to create for myself. My cell phone has been a blessing and a curse. Feelings of utter desperation indeed encroach when I want things to be just perfect—for example, Love life-- with such fairy-like quality? NOT, people (us included) are flawed in loving, utterly self-centered and scheming; family life – a haven? Instead, its an endless to do list calling me to be Parent, Banker, Homemaker, Activity Director, Guidance Counselor, Secretary…Work, why can’t it proceed like clockwork? It’s a to do list proceeding from each item on the original to do list growing even bigger by the minute because it involves people with all their issues, etc., etc., etc Then, there is Brother Ass (St. Francis calls his body, Brother Ass) and all its demands for health and vitality when everything seems to be needing treatment, medicine or attention. Our reality is just so far from the Ideal! What are we to do with it? Jump off the cliff? A well-meaning friend once told me many years ago: “If I had your disability…If I had your boyfriend…If I had your transportation…If I had your work…I’d jump in the river!” Since her comment, I have discovered that my escape from all of life’s burdens are those very burdens themselves. Hidden in their infuriating hell lie the very solutions. It’s a weird but universal discovery that the very problems we encounter are the very hints of their own solutions if given time to manifest. Bitter reality is the very thing that compels us to live it one moment at a time: …allowing for thought, a review of resources, of strategies …allowing for problem solving, …allowing you to just release the emotion and ride it out …release the tension, allowing for the profusion of tears and humanity, …allowing for mistakes and for relearning from those mistakes, …and then for retakes, for practice until perfect, …allowing for laughter and savoring the moment …Finally for the touch of grace. For that comrade who did not have time to ride out his or her bitter reality, may God take you in His arms and look on us down here to coach us away from that cliff’s edge.