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Minyan Mailbag: The Long and Winding Road


Let your heart heal, have faith, and stay open.


Here's what I've wanted to share with you--and I know that you of all people already know this after Ruby, Sept. 11th, and other harsh experiences. But sometimes I think it helps to hear it from others. I believe in a loving God--so I don't believe that any of these painful events has its roots in God's will. But I also believe that God can use our heartaches to help us make a better world--when we allow it.

For my own life, what have I gained after losing my brother (he was 40)? I am now a more compassionate person in so many ways. I also have been able to counsel so many young men, just as you do, that we work to live, and cannot live to work.

What has grown out of a marriage in which I was a victim of domestic violence? I am now able to speak publicly--after many years--and put a face on "victim" that has allowed others to realize that this face has every color, and every economic basis, and every need for understanding and compassion.

What have I done with the understanding and compassion I have gained from my son's bipolar illness? I am an educator--so I can help many students who suffer from mental illness to graduate from college when they otherwise could not. I have helped change the way our public school system treats depressive illness. My son is no longer hauled into court for missing school when he cannot attend.

This isn't meant to be about me--those are just a few of my examples. I think most of us have them. And it's truly easy to believe that only we have them. (I remember once, walking around my old neighboorhood in the dark, looking in all the holiday windows. I said to a friend, "How come they all have such happy lives and I have to go through all this?" And he said, "What on earth makes you think they all have such happy lives?")

As we grieve and learn, we grow and can help others. You inspire me--always--to do that. You are one of the many reasons I am considering a life-shift towards charitable foundation work--using my life experiences for noble causes.

I do know heartbreak. I do know despair. I do know what it means to need to summon tremendous bravery to make it through these things.

We only know what we can make of our hurts in the rearview mirror. (We can't chart them--thankfully.) But when the perfect job doesn't work out, or the perfect love partnership doesn't work out, we will only be able to see the better plan far later. This is where faith comes in. One foot in front of the other. Sometimes, one minute at a time.

You will live a life that you will be proud of. Ruby will be proud when he greets you. Let your heart heal, have faith, and stay open.

With affection,
(name withheld)
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Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at

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