On This Train; Faith Will Be Rewarded

Historic and picturesque Newport, Rhode Island.

Happiness is found in life’s most ordinary moments. 
This week, I will be celebrating my 57th birthday.
And being in a reflective mood, I’m finding that as I get older I’m finally able to derive bliss from the simple things in life.
It has taken me awhile to get to this place.
But these days, these wonderful days, a beautiful sky, my wife’s laugh, a text from my sister, a call from a friend, a quick trip to  New England, watching my old dog sleep in his cozy bed, time with friends, a great book and the list goes on makes me happy to my very core.

Brené Brown once said, “We chase extraordinary moments instead of being grateful for ordinary moments until hard 💩happens. And then in the face of really hard stuff — illness, death, loss — the only thing we’re begging for is a normal moment.”

Ain’t that the truth!
Therein lies  the great irony of life — we are constantly pursuing the extraordinary yet when we lose someone, we’re willing to give anything to hear the sound of their voice even if it’s singing off-key in the shower just one more time. One more time.
In my case, Covid reminded me that each moment we’re alive is impossibly fragile.
I first learned that lesson when I lost my mother far too young to cancer. But I had forgotten that lesson.
 I was 34 and in a hurry in those days, consumed by ambition and anxious to make a mark. I lost sight of the beauty of the mundane. I was restless and impatient.
But the gift of some hard knocks and the passage of time is that we discover that simplicity has true meaning. 
When I came home from a 39 day stay at Bethesda Hospital this time  last year, my friend Connor Lynch called me. 
“Doesn’t the grass seem greener?” he asked. 
How did he know?
Yes, the grass seemed greener and the sky seemed bluer. I told Connor that during my trip home from the hospital, I never enjoyed seeing Lake Ida Road more.  Connor knew from experience so he wasn’t surprised. 
A road that I travel every day every day rushing around suddenly seemed grand, like a picturesque boulevard. 
I don’t want to lose that feeling. 
So when life gets me down, and of course it still does from time to time (that Old School Square lease termination really stinks my friends) I still get angry. But my pique is tempered by my appreciation for the good things in life. The simple pleasures. 
We went to New England last week for a long awaited vacation that happened to dovetail with my year anniversary of getting and ultimately surviving Covid and a wicked case of double pneumonia that still robs me of my wind. 
Through Facebook memories I was able to revisit the experience  through the kind comments of so many nice people. It was painful and interesting and touching to hear from so many people. And I felt blessed. Extraordinarily blessed. 
A kind word carries so much power and influence.
Kind words heal.
The opposite is true as well.
Harsh words wound. They leave marks. 
On my vacation, I soaked in the beauty of New England which is extraordinary. Everywhere you look is a postcard. 
My wife and I enjoyed the water views, we sailed, looked for puffins, explored charming villages and marveled at the history we found in every town. 
I’m drawn to New England for a lot of reasons, some mysterious to me. It does remind me of  my hometown Stony Brook, New York, so maybe that’s part of it. But there’s something intangible too that just calls to me. 
Of course, I love Florida too. My wife and I have given a lot of time and passion to Delray Beach and so have our friends who were hurting last week over the aforementioned decision regarding Old School Square.  
I felt compelled to listen to their hurt last week, to make calls I wouldn’t ordinarily make while  on vacation. 
I was calling and texting from various points in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island all of which felt like warm, inviting and friendly places even for this Yankee fan tooling around town with Florida plates on the rental car. 
My friends needed to be reminded that they mattered, that they did good things because they have been told the opposite.
I happen to believe that the truth matters.
And that even in a world filled with misinformation, propaganda and nastiness, the truth will eventually win out. 
It’s painful to wait, but you have to keep believing. 
In the past year, so many of my wishes have come true and so many of my prayers and the prayers of others have been answered. 
Amid the challenges, my faith has been cemented. 
I’m finally learning to be patient,  to be happy and to open my eyes to the beauty that surrounds us. Despite the noise, despite the nastiness, there is clarity, kindness and hope.
Always hope. Even in the darkest days. 



  1. We share that view of the grass looking greener, colors more vivid and the simple laughter of a friend something of a symphony…thank you for your reflections in this mirror pool. Life is an extraordinary gift and to quote the poet – we travel all the roads of the world to return to this spot and see it all as if for the first time!

  2. arthur m beckerman says

    very well said Jeff; glad you are Alive and Well

  3. Happy Happy Birthday, Jeff – Enjoy!!

  4. Kerry Koen says

    Connor Lynch’s question to you as you came home from the Covid experience was a powerful one. It should challenge all of us, even now – especially now, to see the things around us in the fullness of interactions with others, accurate and honest assessments of our successes and failures, and the host of events that have brought us to this moment in time. I suggest that we all take ourselves too seriously most of the time. The grass that looked greener that day was the same grass that you might have driven by a year ago without notice. What changed? Your life experience changed you, and made you a more sensitive person – so as to be more aware of the simple things and moments all around us.

    And, yes HOPE still matters. Without it our world would be pretty dark.

  5. Anne Gannon says

    I so often think of my husband, Jim who died at 54. My life was a struggle for sometime after that but I am blessed today with a great job, good friends and a City I love. To say I was disappointed over the fiasco at Old School Square is an under statement. I was but have faith through the darkness there will be light. I so understand what Jeff is saying. Glad you had a great time on holiday. Welcome back.

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Anne, I remember Jim well. He was a wonderful man, gone way too soon. Let there be light for Delray, it’s not dark yet.

  6. Many years separate us; I am 82. But you have learned the truth about life and what matters. Many studies have been done that show older people are happier than midlife people, probably because they have learned this truth. I can testify that while it’s clear to me that death is not far off, the present is more vivid and precious because of that realization. Keep hold of what you’ve learned!

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Dear Mrs. Nixon:
      Thank you for your kind words and may you live many, many more good years!
      Best, Jeff

  7. Kim Tisdale says

    Thanks for the reminder!

  8. Yvonnel Odom says

    Boy do you have a way with words! Thanks for sharing!

  9. You have turned a covid19 bout into a positive. I believe you are now living in the PRESENT and that is a gift of Grace. I share your disappointment with the OSS decision that was made improperly.
    Your writing expertise is touching many in a positive manner.
    I’m delighted with your wisdom that you’re passing on.

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Thanks so much Bruce.
      We can all use a little grace these days in Delray. Here’s hoping we find some.

  10. Chuck Ridley says

    Jeff my friend… you sound like a Village Elder and my mentor Alfred Zack Straghn…. Ijs

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Chuck, there is no higher compliment than being mentioned alongside Mr. Zack. Thank you so so much. If we forget the lessons of our elders, we risk it all. Right now, we are risking it all.

  11. You brought tears to eyes. Namaste

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