"There really is no good or bad, right or wrong, left or right. These are concepts and labels created, agreed to and then thought of as "real." I choose to no longer believe things just because everyone else does--this closes down my soul. When I ascribe to these without examining what lies beneath them, I limit my thinking. My mind--the creation point of my spirit--is held hostage. I have chosen to make myself less by my own unquestioned belief system." ~Robin Korth
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There are several instances in my life that can’t be explained away as mere coincidence. I suppose a cynic might chalk it up to happenstance but that doesn’t change the way that I view things. My heart and soul have different eyes and I trust what they have seen.

When I was a freshman in college I lived through a natural disaster. A freak once-in-a-century flood overwhelmed my town and the surrounding areas. I lost nearly everything as the waters rose close to the rooftop of my second story apartment building. I was blindsided and completely devastated.

Many people lost their homes and the college had to temporarily shut down because so many students had no place to live. I found myself standing in line at food banks and relying on organizations like the Red Cross and FEMA for clothes and a mattress to sleep on. Social workers and crisis counselors that knew how to connect with recently traumatized students provided badly needed emotional support.


So many people volunteered and came forward to help as the city ground to a standstill with no power and no clean water. It was tragic but it was in this coming together of strangers and neighbors that there was also astounding beauty.

The gratitude I felt for these people and for the smallest of gestures from friends and family can not be measured. I suppose that’s what makes gratitude what it is, an overwhelming heart bursting feeling that can’t be quantified or manufactured. Even when I had nothing, I had gratitude in spades. This is what kept me from drowning.

Once the waters finally receded and my apartment building had been condemned I was cleared to go in and survey the damage. It was unreal walking back into what had once been my home. I had learned to fear fire and practice fire prevention in the homebut nobody had ever warned me about the danger and devastation of floods.

The toxic mold that had sprouted everywhere required special goggles, gloves, and masks to breathe through. I noticed that some of the furniture could be salvaged. I was relieved and ecstatic to have anything familiar to add to my new and barren apartment. I realized I was there alone with only my boyfriend to help. The two of us could not move the furniture let alone transport it. I went outside and noticed that my neighbors, all fellow college students, had parents and family helping them. I watched them load up their trucks and comfort their stressed out kids.


Just as I was giving up rescuing anything from the destruction a van pulled up to the side of the road. A family of four jumped out and the dad yelled;

“You kids look like you need some help!”.

I nodded and explained the situation. Astounded, I asked them what they were doing… why they were here… how they were here in my moment of quiet need.

They explained how they saw the devastation from the flood on the news and drove from another state to see what they could do to help. My street was one they happened to drive down just as I was sitting outside with my head in my hands.

Without hesitation they loaded up what was salvageable of my belongings and drove them to my new apartment across town. Not once did they complain about the toxic mold, the weight of the furniture, or how far the new apartment was from the old one. They simply acted.

When they were done I thanked them profusely. I offered to pay them once I had some money and asked for their mailing information. They refused. With warm hugs all around, they wished me good luck in my new life and disappeared just as suddenly as they had appeared.

I don’t know what to make of these people that did this incredible thing for me in the aftermath of a tragedy. I don’t even know their names. So I call them Angels. And anytime life has thrown a storm my way, I remember these Angels that walk among us and how they saved me that day.

I remember them and their goodness that stood in the middle of miles and miles of destruction. I remember them and know that they, and others like them, are out there.



Stephanie is a writer, survivor, and advocate.
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The sun was a spotlight through the windshield. I shook my head and blinked my eyes to make sure that what I was seeing was real, to make sure that it wasn’t a trick of the light, that I wasn’t mistaken. I flexed my fingers on the steering wheel to make sure the hands on it were actually attached to my arms.
Raised veins snaked across the back of my outstretched hands. Sharp lines defined them instead of soft angles. There were age spots where there was once clearly smooth flesh. Wrinkles framed the knuckles, not gently contoured skin. How could these belong to me? These are the hands of an old woman!
This truth widened up from my tailbone, skittered down my back and fingered across my shoulders. My going-grey hair lifted at the back of my neck as full awareness shot through me and I splayed my fingers in a gut-sigh of surprise. These are my hands! This isn’t a concept. This isn’t a spiritual axiom. This isn’t me being centered and oh-so-wonderful in the face of my culture telling me my body is too old.
A few months before, a man had called me “wrinkly” and I thought I’d weathered this transitioning of me towards old. I’d written about it in an article called “My ‘Naked’ Truth“ and I’d received accolades and anger for talking about standing naked in front of a mirror honoring my aging body. This was different. This was way different.
This was me being totally inside the shifting of my years. This was bloody and raw reality pouring through me at the level of my DNA. I had become someone else while I wasn’t looking. It was as if a little kid in the grocery store was pointing at me and asking, “Mommy, what’s wrong with that lady? Why does she look that way?” And there I sat in the car and I cried. This is it. This is my life — and so very, very much of it is gone.
A voice in my head laughed wickedly as it sneered, “Did you really think you were going to get away with this so easily? Did you really think you were done with this aging thing? How arrogant of you! How foolish of you!” As my tears welled and rolled, all I could think of was how very innocent I had been.
I don’t know how to do this third age of my life — these years between middle-age and old. I don’t have a roadmap for what lies before me. I’m not some airbrushed and face-lifted women happily hawking anti-aging cream. “Noticeable difference in as little as three weeks!” I’m a child of the 1960s and 70s where rock and roll was my birthright. I was going to change the world and the “Age of Aquarius” meant I would be forever young. I felt cheated and somehow betrayed. This wasn’t supposed to happen to me. But it has. My hands are telling me that my youth is done. I’ve become the grey-haired lady in the drug store.
As I head into my 60th birthday, a whole new feeling about myself is emerging. Everything that I thought was valid and settled is now up for grabs. I don’t want to be doing the same things I was doing a year ago or five years ago. I want to misbehave. I want to kick this thing called “my life” and rock it wide open. I want to dance it and question it. There is an aching need for me to tear it all apart and look at the pieces — where have I been, what have I done and where am I going now? Where is the meaning and power, the potency, joy, laughter and wonder of my life?
I’m on my way to a place I’ve never really thought much about. Wait, to be really honest, I never thought about it at all! I wasn’t planning on getting old. Do any of us? But into my future I must go. So, with my heart open and my spirit very curious, I am walking full-wide and brave into this next great adventure of my life. I’m walking into the hands of time.

By Robin Korth
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