Relishing the Successes of Ordinary Life

pixelI 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.

(Andy Silver is a former member of Peoples Temple. His complete collection of writings for the jonestown report may be found here. He can be reached at