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Jessica (@jessica) It is predictable that our lives will bring each of us hardship and pain. However, the degree of our suffering we cannot predict. On the stage of life, we may find ourselves flawlessly performing well-rehearsed lines when mid-sentence we are handed a script we have never before seen. At the cue of the director we are expected to promptly carry on with our performance with the same charisma and charm that we had before. How do we do this when discouragement, doubt and fear overwhelm us? In the book How Dark the Heavens, Sydney Iwens’s recounts his memories as he fought to survive the Holocaust. The book is filled with terrifying descriptions of the abuse he suffered at the hands of the Nazi Party. However, not all of the pages are filled with sadness. In one of his entries, Sydney describes a Saturday afternoon in the ghetto where many of the prisoners were looking forward to an upcoming day of rest from their regular work responsibilities. This created a “certain excitement” for all of them. They carried on with singing, laughing, and joking the way people do when a good mood fills the air. Among this, Sydney noticed a man practicing a new concerto on his violin. At this point Iwens recalled, “For a while... I observed the animated atmosphere. I tried to imagine what an outsider would think, looking at us here. He would certainly find it hard to believe that the people he saw knew they were condemned to die.” How does someone in this situation still find joy? Yet somehow they did! I realize that happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, and even though the lines and scenes have changed, our performance still might be the greatest we’ve ever performed. Our choice in how we respond to unexpected changes cannot be taken from us. As Viktor Frankle once said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”