I have a video recording of my doctoral defense and that moment my advisor welcomed me back into the room and said, “Congratulations, Dr. Hy Huynh.” The moment happened so fast in real-time though, so I’m grateful I can go back, slow it down, and savor that moment, frame by frame.
One of my favorite memories of my recent trip to Colombia was photographing Julian and his abuelo on a hike at Cocora Valley. The day before, his abuelo had asked if he could join us, even expressing interest in hiking with us. He wanted to do it all. It wasn’t until later that I learned he hadn’t been back to Cocora Valley in more than twenty years.
Once on horseback and another time on foot, I’ve been fortunate to experience the wonder and wisdom of Cocora Valley in Salento, Colombia. It’s become my place of refuge this month, a place where I’ve been able to both calmly reflect and seek advice and perspective during these difficult times.
A few months ago, a monk said to me, “It’s easy to be thankful for our friends, family, good health, and positive experiences, but it’s much more difficult to be thankful for challenging situations, difficult people, and other difficult experiences. Now you’re probably wondering: why should we be thankful for these things? Well, sometimes, difficult experiences and people who make us angry or sad can show us where we might need more wisdom.”