Even If You Get A Bitter Piece, It Doesn’t Have To Spoil The Taste Of The Whole Box!


I was never close to him in high school. It was after we graduated from high school together that he became a teammate of mine. His name was Bob and he and I played on the same  softball team in the summer of 1975.   I didn’t know Bob very well before that but  I found out after high school that he was a gem of a man.  After I returned from my two-year church mission, I rejoined the team for a couple of more years.  He was married, as was I, and life was going forward for us both. We had our whole lives in front of us. In 1981 I moved from the area and lost touch with Bob.

Several years ago I got a call from another former teammate.  We met for lunch and ending up spending hours reminiscing and laughing about common memories. During our conversation, Bob’s name came up. He told me that Bob had been stricken with Multiple Sclerosis. He was now hospitalized. He told me that Bob,  “Would sure enjoy a call from you!” So a few days later  I picked up the phone and made that call. The phone was answered by a male voice and I asked, “Is Bob there?”. Bob immediately recognized my voice. We talked about old times but eventually the conversation turned to his illness. He told me that about 15 years ago he woke up one morning and found that he was numb on one side of his body. He briefly related the story of his illness, but it was detailed enough for me to feel of his pain. He is now wheelchair bound and he is only getting worse. He can’t work and is now on disability. Yet, his voice seemed so happy.  We both marvelled at how fast time has gone by and how as high schoolers we never could have imagined what challenges life would throw at us. I was glad I called him. I’m sure it was nice for him to hear from an old friend.

I left our conversation with the promise that we would talk again. I also left the conversation with the feeling best expressed in the opening lines of the movie “Forrest Gump”.

“Hello. My name’s Forrest. Forrest Gump. Do you want a chocolate?… My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”

Bob got a piece of chocolate that he didn’t want. But he didn’t seem bitter. No, he just seemed to accept it and learn from it.  I’m sure there are times when he wishes things were different. But they aren’t. Like all our lives, sometimes the piece of chocolate we get isn’t sweet to the taste.  Sometimes it has a sour taste to it!  However, time has a way of leveling the playing field.  My experience is that most everyone gets a bitter piece of chocolate from time to time. When that piece comes our way, may we have the strength to partake of it, like Bob,  without letting it poison our souls. Then, with hope in the future,  let’s look anew into the chocolate box of life.  Let us not let  the occasional bad piece of chocolate leave a bitter taste in our mouth ruining the chance we have to savor the experience that comes with a new selection. (Bob has since passed away never bitter to the end.)



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