Life Lessons, Part 2

Residents of Bethany Village

Clyde and Carol Cressler, 72 and 71

Most Important Life Lesson:  Never give up on life when unexpected health issues appear, no matter what your age. Here we are at the ages 71 and 72, and we have survived colon cancer, heart surgery and continue to meet the issues of a disease like Parkinson’s that only progresses. Before these diseases came to be, we were very healthy and took life with health for granted. Our health issues did not ever become who we are.

Advice: Always look at life positively…with the glass half full. Wake up every morning, think of five great things that happened the day before and look forward to the five great things that will happen this day.

Marian Dornell, 76

Most Important Life Lesson:  My most important life lesson concerns how I choose to respond to being stereotyped as an African-American female. Being marginalized by institutions and individuals over a lifetime is to be made vulnerable to what others think and feel. Racism is a difficult obstacle to overcome. I have learned that one must act out of a place of self-appreciation, love, and respect for everyone, no matter if they treat you as “less-than.”

Advice: I encourage the young to stay engaged in waging peace by finding their gifts, getting an education, honing their talents and serving the community by inviting those who see them as “less-than” to engage in meaningful, peaceful, loving, yet tough dialog in a way that will help to diminish the effects of racism.

Dale Meadowcroft, 69

Most Important Life Lesson:  Learning how to accept help. At age 37, I became a quadriplegic when I broke my neck diving into a swimming pool. In an instant, I went from an athletic, fiercely independent individual to a person who would need assistance for the rest of his life. If I were to have any quality of life or be a contributing member of society, I would have to accept help from others. For quite awhile, I interpreted their acts of assistance as a sign of my inabilities and weakness. After months of denial, I realized that my desire for independence and my reluctance to accept assistance or help was denying others the same joy that I had when I had helped them.  By saying, “Yes,” and accepting their help, I was, in my own way, giving them a gift as much as they were giving me one.

Advice: When someone offers you assistance, accept it as a gift – not as a sign of your weakness.