I value the Peoples Temple survivor community, of which I am a member.
I value how we have survived setbacks as well as created successes. I view each of us as individual researchers creating a life, mastering skills such as healthy boundaries and clear communication.
Some of these setbacks are less significant than others, the “pebbles in the shoe” issues that I have had to learn I can’t fix or change include: having step-children who vote Republican, are chronic whiners and hypochondriacs, and fear people who are racially different. Some days I tolerate these people barely. But what happens when I have a good day and tolerate them better, is when I plan how to take care of myself.
But there are mundane successes, too, the breakthroughs with same family members that have occurred when I heard via the grapevine that my kindnesses were appreciated and my open-mindedness was admired.
I especially cherish these successes of ordinary life – which may seem small to others – because they reflect what I learned during my years with Peoples Temple. I hear of other successes of other survivors, and know the wellspring from which they arise. I also know that for many of us – just because of our survival – there is no such thing as a small success.
Twenty-seven years later, I am glad to know those other survivors, and to be able to rediscover our old friendships and to rekindle the passions that drove our time together.
That’s for starters.