Page 1

Living in the Dark

By: George Louzek

Table of Contents  Introduction

pg. 1-3

 Chapter 1: Acquiring Your night Vision

pg 4-8

 Chapter 2: Blending Into the Shadows

pg 9-13

 Chapter 3: Dusk: Between Day and Night

pg 14-18

 Chapter 4: Scared of the Dark

pg 19-23

 Conclusion

pg 24-25

 About the Author

pg 26

Introduction “Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.” ~James Russell Lowell, "Cambridge Thirty Years Ago," Literary Essays In life, people will be confronted with many different situations. Some situations will bring pure ecstasy and joy, some will bring anger or malice, and some will bring sadness and remorse. However it is all in how we handle these situations, which will determine how they intimately affect us. You can either allow and event to happen and just deal with the consequences of what happens, or you can try and make the best of the situation. Making the best of the situation would mean finding happiness among sadness, finding light in a dark situation. There are many times in my life, from the time I was a young child that I have been presented with situations which were less than suitable. Less than suitable is an understatement in fact. Some situations that I have had presented to me trough out life have seemed as though they were God’s gift to me for doing something horrible. They made me miserable, and there seemed to be no way out of them. As the quote by James Russell Lowell states, “Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.” Bad situations have almost hurt me beyond belief. However I was able to “grasp the knife by the handle”, so I was never “cut” or in other words hurt from these bad situations. I instead benefitted from the bad situations, and had them serve me. I made the bad situation serve as a life lesson to me, from which I could learn from for the present, and future to come. I made the best of the bad situation by looking where many others might not look in the same situation. I tried my best and found good among bad.

One particularly bad situation I had found myself in was during this last winter break, between the first and second semesters of my freshman year of college. I never thought that I would find myself in such a situation until it happened, until it was too late to change what had happened. One night, my best friend Steven and I decided to sneak out to go to a party at another one of our friend’s houses. In order to do so we needed to borrow my older sister’s car, without her knowing. This of course seemed like a bad idea at first, but I never figured I would get caught. So before I knew it, Steven and I were taking off in my sister’s car and headed to the party. At the party we had fun, and did things we should not have done, considering that I still needed to drive back and get home without my parents realizing I had left, let alone taken my sister’s car without her permission. Around 3:30 AM we pulled into my driveway as quietly as possible, assuming and hoping that neither of my parents had discovered that we were out and about at a party, using my sister’s car. As we pulled in everything seemed to be fine, until we got out of the car. We were greeted by my father, screaming at us. I was in such a bad situation my head began to spin. Would I ever seen the punishment I was about to receive? However I never received any punishment. My father told me how much of an idiot I was. He told me how much of a disappointment I was to him and my mother. That alone, being told how much of a disappointment I was, made me sick to my stomach. Not only had I gotten in trouble and put myself in a horrible situation, but I had disappointed my parents, the two people whose opinions mattered the most to me. From that moment, I decided to change the way I was living my life, and start doing it so my parents would be proud of me. I wanted them to be proud when they talked about me with their friends. I wanted them to be proud of what I was able to accomplish. Choosing to change the way I lived my life in order to make my parents proud is an example of making the most of a bad situation, finding something good among all the bad happening around me.

Being able to do this is essential to survival. If you are unable to make the most of a bad situation then you will not survive, at least not as long as someone who is able to always make the most of the bad around them.

Chapter 1: Acquiring Your Night Vision Being a freshman playing a varsity sport in high school can be one of the most intimidating things. Not due to the fact that other kids are bigger and scarier, but because you don’t automatically feel accepted. There is an aspect of respect and confirmation required to be accepted by the rest of the team, especially the seniors, when you’re only a freshman. The first day of varsity lacrosse tryouts at Hollis Brookline High School was really the first time that I ever felt as though I actually didn’t fit in. I felt as though I was a true outsider, with no one by my side to help me through even the simplest of problems. After all, I was only a freshman. I had yet to gain the respect of the upper classmen, and at some point I felt as though I was disrespected by them. But I had to make the most of this and keep persevering, in hopes of finding acceptance. The previous season the team had come up just short of making it to the championship game, losing in the Final Four tournament by a mere 2 goals. They had worked all off season together to hone their skills to a razor’s edge. They must have thought I was out of my mind even thinking I was good enough to play at the same level as them. I would even say it’s fair to say some of them felt disrespected that I thought I was good enough to be a member of the varsity lacrosse team, being only a freshman. As fate would have it, and even against my own belief, I was chosen as a member of the varsity team. I knew I was a member of something great, but I hadn’t yet felt accepted by the team. For the first few days of practice not many people talked to me. At one point the coach even pulled me aside to make sure that I was okay with how things were going. He could tell that I was having a rough time finding acceptance with the older players. He knew that they weren’t happy about a freshman making

the varsity team, but that wasn’t enough to stop our coach from putting together the best possible team he could, even if it meant having a freshman on the team. As the season inched along I began to understand how good my team actually was. Not only were we winning every game, but we were beating almost every team by double digits. Our popularity began to rise within the school. Being a varsity lacrosse player was more of a big deal now than being a football player was in the 70’s. People who I had never met would wish me luck on days that we had games. I would even go as far as to say that when I wore my lacrosse jersey in school on game days, girls thought I was a little bit better looking. But what should I be fooling myself for? I was obviously only because everyone in my school loved that varsity lacrosse team. As the season winded down, I still hadn’t really found acceptance by the other members of the lacrosse team. I wasn’t going to let that get me down though. After all, we were going to be playing the state championship game. The opponent we had to face was the Portsmouth High School Clippers. Previously in the season they handed us our only loss, an embarrassing 15-2 beating. We were out to avenge that loss using inspiration from one of our beloved coaches, Coach Zack. At least that’s what we called him. His real name was Zack Papidakis, and he was possibly one of the most hardcore coaches that I had ever had. He was an ex Army Ranger, and he knew how to give a pre-game speech that could motivate someone put under anesthesia by a doctor. Ten minutes before we step out of the locker room onto the turn field of Stellos Stadium, coach Zack walks through the door to the field with his lacrosse stick in hand. As the door slams shut, the room becomes silent and still, expecting the coach to begin talking. The only sound that can be heard is the rhythmic thumping of Coach Zack’s lacrosse stick against the cold concrete floor. What is this supposed to mean? As Coach Zack begins to talk, we soon find out.

“How many of you know the movie 300? For those of you who don’t, it’s about a group of 300 Spartan warriors who band together as brothers, side by side, weapon in hand, and take on a massive Persian Army. Tonight gentleman, you’ll stand together on that field as brothers and warriors, side by side, with your stick as your weapon. If the man besides you fails, you all will fail.” The hair on the back of my neck was standing up like a porcupine’s needles as soon as he finished saying this. This was real. If we wanted to be crowned as state champions then we would have to literally fight for it. The locker room doors opened yet again, but this time it was our turn to walk out onto the field. As I walked through the tunnel I could hear cheers of love, and jeers of hate. The stands were packed to capacity, seating roughly 5,000 people. Not only were there masses of student and parents, but there were people of all ages who had come to support us. There were children who played in youth leagues, and members of past teams since Hollis Brookline had formed a lacrosse team. It was safe to say that a vast majority of my town was there. When people say that history re-writes itself, they couldn’t have been more wrong on this night. We triumphed to become state champions, winning by a score of 7-4. It felt amazing to be a champion, but at that moment I had also gained something else. All the older kids on the team suddenly accepted me as a part of their team. Maybe all it took was for them to avenge their disappointing season the previous year. But not only had I gain acceptance by my team mates, but I felt as though I had gained acceptance from my whole town. Lacrosse is the biggest sport in my town. Countless numbers of kids play it, and every youth team was very successful. But we had finally done it, not only had we won pride for our school, but we had gained the love of our town. In the beginning of the season I had worried about gaining the acceptance of my team. Finally gaining that acceptance was great, as well as gaining a feeling of acceptance in my town. But I gained

even more during this. In the end I was left with a group of friends that meant just as much to me as my family. During the time before this happened however, I had to learn to make the most of what I was presented. I had been on a great team, that hadn’t quite accepted me. But I learned to see through that and realize that no matter what, these kids were still my teammates, my brothers. There wasn’t much else to really fret about though, because like I said, I played for one of the top teams in the state and I was only a freshman. In the end, just being able to see through all the drama caused by me making the team, and see that I was finally accepted by my teammates is what made me feel the best. Not winning the state championship, but gaining a group of friends who will last a lifetime, that’s what meant the most to me. As you can see, being a freshman on a team full of upper classmen is extremely tough. Many of them did not have a hard time liking me, but they had a hard time accepting me as a member of their team. They didn’t think I belonged on the team that they had worked so hard to make one of the best in the state. Having to overcome this adversity everyday on and off the field was one of the toughest things that I have ever had to do in my life. I looked up to all these kids as if they were my older brothers, and for the longest time I was simply not accepted by them. Forcing myself to make the most of this situation became an everyday occurrence. Sometimes it seemed as though I would never truly find a good solution to this dilemma, so making the best of it seemed like it was the only thing that I could really do. The day that I finally gained the acceptance of my team was one of the best days of my life. Not only had I gained what I had most desired for the longest time, but all my hard work at staying positive in a bad situation had paid off. The whole time I had been looking on the bright side of things, I had been doing the right thing. Had I gotten down on myself about what was happening then maybe I would not

have ended up gaining their acceptance. If I had given up because I didn’t feel accepted, and dropped off the team, then I never would have realized what it was like to get the gratifying feeling of gaining my teammates acceptance. This goes the same for how I felt about the kids in my high school. During high school I absolutely could not stand the kids I went to school with for a number of reasons. Ultimately, I could not stand they way that they acted, I was disgusted. All throughout high school I had to try and make the best of the short end of the stick I was given.

Chapter 2: Blending into the Shadows In the book Easter Rising, the main character MacDonald goes through many dilemmas in his young life. By going through these dilemmas, he comes to the conclusion that he doesn’t want to be like the “normal” people that he grew up with. This is a huge decision for him to make, because it will affect the way that his life unfolds, and the way that other people around him will be influenced by the person he becomes. In MacDonald’s life, he witnesses many horrible things that people both emotionally close to him and not close to him do. He sees people do cruel things to each other, and to themselves. Growing up in South Boston, he was brought up in a neighborhood that was against African Americans and other racial minorities. The people of South Boston essentially guarded the boarders of their neighborhoods in order to prevent blacks, and other groups from entering them. He grew up with both drug dealers and thieves working on the streets day in, and day out. Even more extreme, his own brother was a drug dealer and also was a thief, stealing items off of the back of shipping trucks so he could sell them and make some money. In some cases, he could even see the drug dealers slinging their drugs right outside of his window, on the sidewalks below. Also, there was a lot of violence in the part of Boston he was from. There were many fights between people, and there were even people that got beaten up for no reason at all. There are several occasions that he talks about walking down the street and seeing blood spilled on the sidewalk, from what he describes as a violent fight.

There is one scene from the book that stands out in my mind, marking the transition from being like the “normal” people around him, to being different. This scene is when he goes up into his room right after he steals a record from Strawberries music store. Right before he plays the record, he imagines a scene where one of the women who lives in his building is standing in the street with a baseball bat, yelling at a women who lives across the street. She is yelling because the other woman has been sleeping with her husband. To me, this marks the point where MacDonald transcends from the “normal”, to the new life he wishes to live. I feel that all of these reasons, combined with the tragic death of his older brother helped MacDonald make the decision that he did not want to like the “normal” people in the area that he grew up in. I feel that he was sick of the way people acted, and he wanted to be different. He didn’t want to be different to try and change how people acted. I feel that he wanted to be different because he was so disgusted in the way that “normal” people acted, that he did not want to stoop down to that level by being like them. I can personally relate this to my own life by thinking back to high school. During high school, I went to a very preppy, rich school. My school was only one, of two Blue Ribbon Schools in New Hampshire, which was an award given by the government to top schools. Between all of these factors, the kids in my grade got pretty full of themselves. After spending about two and a half years with these kids, half way through my junior year, I decided that I didn’t wasn’t to be like them. I absolutely couldn’t stand the way the kids around me acted; it was disgusting that people could act so selfish, snobby, rude, and inconsiderate. To name just a few things, I have witnessed girls fight because they had the same pair of designer boots on at the same time. I’ve seen a brand new BMW keyed just because someone got a nicer model car than someone else. Also, I never realized how sickening it is to see kids deliberately

smash their brand new phone, just so they can get the newest model Smartphone. It was just appalling to me that people could let material objects get the best of them like that. It’s these things that made me decide that I didn’t want to be like the “normal” people, when it came to my school. I constantly had to try and look past all of this drama and shameful behavior around me. I had to try and find something that made sense among all this confusion, I had to find peace throughout all of this chaos. Trying to make the most of what was presented to me was the most difficult thing. How could someone want to go to a school every day that they hated so much? Not because they had to learn, but because they were disgusted with the other kids around them. Making the best of my school because not thing I did, but a way of life. Then one day this suddenly changed, I didn’t have to look far to find safe refuge in my school community from the “normal” people. One day for English class I had written a daily journal entry that talked about my frustrations and disgust with the things that the kids in my school did. I should have know that my English teacher, being the kind of person she was would find what I had written heart-felt, and true to what was happening, but I never thought twice about that while I was writing it. The next day during class my teacher, Mrs. Illingworth asked me to stay after class so she could talk to me about what I had written. As usual, I thought I was in trouble for criticizing my fellow classmate. Calling them “fellow” classmates isn’t my favorite way to put it because many of them are the farthest thing from anything I would want to consider a fellow, but none the less they were my peers. As the bell rang, and the rest of the class filed out of the room, Mrs. Illingworth turned to me and began talking about how what I had written was true, and how like me, she shared the same disgust in the way that many of the students acted, allowing material objects to rule their life. She also suggested that I join the school news paper. I had always thought the kids on the school newspaper

were kind of weird, but then again, what the hell was normal anymore? I certainly didn’t want to be “normal” in my school, so maybe this was a good idea! To make a long story short, after that day I ended up joining the school newspaper, and finding out that the kids I thought were weird, were actually pretty cool. They weren’t so attached to material objects in their lives as to let these objects ruin who they really are inside. We were just a group of people who were able to live our lives by what we had inside of us, in both our head and hearts, which is something that I’ve always tried to put on the forefront of the way I live my life. Also, to make it a little more interesting, we shared quite a few of the same interests, so maybe they weren’t as weird as I thought, maybe it was me that was weirder than I thought, or maybe not. Regardless of all this, I found a place where I really fit in, by deliberately forcing myself away from what I knew as “normal” for so many years. Forcing myself to try and make the most of what I had was the only thing that allowed me to keep my sanity, before I found refuge in my journalism class. Not only making the most of what I had, but finding something positive among it all too. Though it was hard to find something good among so much bad, I was able to do that day-in, and day-out. The ability to do this was the key to my success in not only finding a place that I fit in, but finding a place that I wanted to fit into. Being able to somewhat relate to what MacDonald is thinking really helps to understand the book, and what he is going through, throughout the course of his story. Straying away from what you have know as “normal” for so long can be hard, and life changing. But most of the time it is for the better, and will help him live a much happier, enriched life than he would have otherwise lived. Dealing with other students in my school that I did not like was one of the hardest things that I had to do. I like to try and surround myself with people who are happy, positive, and all around good people. Sadly, the school that I went to was not full of people like that. I had to put up with stuff on a

daily basis that many people would never expect to have to deal with once in their life. However I did not let this get the best of me. Day-in and day-out I maintained a positive attitude towards everything negative around me. It took every ounce of energy I had to make a good situation out of the bad situation called Hollis Brookeline High School. Going to that school was dreadful every day, but that one day that I discovered where I truly felt comfortable, was the best day I have ever had at Hollis Brookline High School. The problem I face in school was nothing compared to the issue I faced outside of school however. Going home and being faced with the decision to choose either my best friend, or the sports which I loved so much was almost enough to tear me apart. How would I be able to find a balance between the two things that I loved so much, without endangering one of them to being lost forever?

Chapter 3: Dusk: Between Day and Night Growing up, the biggest problem I ever faced was the conflict between two very different aspects of my life; sports and friends. I had a great passion for both. I absolutely loved the sports I played, but I felt comfortable and safe around my friends. Many people have friends on their sports teams, which I did. But the thing that made this a big conflict was because my best friend didn’t do any of that. It was either sports or my friend. Ever since I can remember I’ve been playing sports. I can’t remember if it was my dad who gently pushed me to play sports, or the fact that I just had fun doing it. But never the less, sports became a staple in my everyday life, and it has been for nineteen years of my life. In high school I was a stand-out player in football and lacrosse, and I was an alright basketball player. I always put those first, dropping everything including schoolwork to be able to spend time in the gym lifting weights or just being able to work on being the best player I could. Sports meant so much to me and the life that I lived that I would regularly have to ditch my friend to be able to go to practices and games. This was hard because the meaning my best friend had to me was challenging my love for sports. But no matter what the situation was, I tried to always make the most of it. My best friend; Steven Vollmer. This kid was like a brother to me, and he still is. Steven lived right down the road from me, we were practically neighbors. He was also younger than me by two years. Even though he is two grades below me in school, that didn’t stop us from hanging out every day and becoming each other’s best friends. With all the similarities in our interests, it was hard to not be friends. It’s hard to even consider him a friend sometimes because I spent as much time with him as I

spent with my family. The conflict between sports and friend was so rough that my friend, Steven, told me many times to just skip a practice so we could hangout. I never did skip a practice, but it would be a lie to say that the idea never passed through my mind without serious intentions accompanying it. One thing that sticks out to me when I think about what makes me and Steven best friends is that we survived shifts in interests together, still being friends in the end. I can explain this by comparing it to what MacDonald goes through in his life. MacDonald shifted his interests by getting into the punk rock scene. He was into learning about the fashion, music, and ultimately how to be part of that scene. During the change he was able to see himself become an outcast in society because he didn’t fit in anywhere he went, besides the music clubs he hung out in, simply due to the fact that he was into the punk rock scene. Many times when people go through a drastic change in interests, their friends are not along for the same ride, and don’t want to get interested in what you like. This could possibly force you to become an outsider amongst your friends. This can sadly sometimes lead to people losing friends over lack of interest in the same things, or simply because you go your own way, perusing your interests, while your friends peruse theirs. Regardless of what could have happened, we remained best friends in the end. I needed this split in my life, sports on one side and my best friend on the other. Sports were always so high-strung. All my coaches wanted to win games, and would do that at almost any cost. There were times when I wanted to quite the teams I was on because it was too frustrating to put up with a coach who was a jerk or because it was too stressful, causing me to freak out. I needed a place and time in my life when I could relax and take a step back from everything that was stressful. I found this place when I was with my friend Steven. Nothing him and I did was too serious. We usually would just do whatever was fun at the time; nothing was ever high-strung when I was with him. I even

remember the first time I listened to the Grateful Dead, which was with my friend Steven, and subsequently we got into liking that music, together. It was a perfect split which allowed me to maintain sanity in my life, which can sometimes be hard to maintain when you have practices everyday for almost a whole year. I specifically remember one time during the summer before my senior year when I had two-a-day football practices. Steven and I would go to Rocky pond, which was a hidden local spot, and canoe around the lake. We talk about going to concerts, music, nature, peaceful stuff like that. We could talk about anything, even our deepest secrets. I remember how relaxing this was for me. It allowed me to step back from the demanding world of sports, and take a moment to enjoy myself. Without this, I would have most likely never been able to play sports all year, without going insane. As you can maybe tell, my best friend Steven, and the sports that I played were a huge conflict in my life. But at the same time, Steven made it possible to me to play all those sports by allowing me to step back when I was with him and relax. In some ways it’s a perfect split. And today, I’m glad that I was able to find a happy medium between sports and friends. Today, I only play lacrosse. You could say that all other sports failed me or that I simply lost interest in them, whichever one sounds more dramatic. And my best friend Steven, he’s still my best friend. A lot has changed in my life, and a lot has also changed with my friend Steven. Being able to fit in friends and sports was one of the smartest thing’s I’ve ever done. I’m glad I didn’t ignore my friend, and spend all my time playing sports. It was a huge conflict originally, and I turned that conflict into the glue that kept sports in my life by allowing me a way to relax when things got rough. I won’t always have sports, but I’ll probably always have my friend Steven. I had always tried to make the most out of negative situations; always believing that no matter how gloomy something might seem there are always rays of sunshine that will beam through the

imminent gloom. Having this approach helped me cope with my divided life. Had I looked at it negatively, I might have just dropped one whole half of my life, possibly abandoning sports, or my best friend. By trying to make the most of the negative situations presented to me, I have kept the two things in my life that mean the most to me; sports and ,my best friend. Now that I look back at it, as much as my friend gave me a place where I could relax from sports, sports gave me a place where I would get away from anything stupid that might have been happening with my friend Steven. Like any friends, we got in arguments about some pretty serious things, and some arguments about stupid stuff that no one quite frankly cared about. Sports just gave me a place where I could go when I needed some time to myself, away from my best friend. It’s crazy to look back on all of this and be able to realize how double sided everything can be, but it’s true. The conflict between sports and friends was one that tore my heart in half. But the conflict was a blessing in disguise, allowing me with access to places where I could seek refuge when the two halves of my life weren’t matching up. Having my life divided right down the middle by the two things I love the most was the hardest thing that I have had to go through to date. Who one do you choose? Which one do you not choose? How do I even begin to make this decision? It became so hard because I began to realize that having both of them in my life was unfair. Not to me, but they were unfair to each other. If I was going to devote my time to sports, then it was unfair to my best friend Steven, and if I was going to devote my time to my friend Steven, then it was unfair to sports and all the talent I had in them. Having to make the most of this, and find something good among this bad situation was one of the most important things I ever had to do. Deciding to make them an even split in my life was the best decision. By doing this, I was able to allow them to balance each other out, creating a life which I would

consider perfect. Without it, my life would have crumbled, with me still living it was it was crumbling all around me. Having the feeling that your life is crumbling around you is also what it would feel like when you go through hardships in your life that force you to change who you are. Having to change due to what is going on around you, or changing your form can be one of the most pivotal moments in someone’s life however. Being able to transition from one stage of their life, to another stage that is drastically different can take a lot of heart and courage to do. Once the change is made though, the life that they will live may be so much more enriching and promising than the life they lived prior to that.

Chapter 4: Scared of the Dark The book Easter Rising by Michael Patrick MacDonald has been powerfully enlightening for me. I have really learned a lot from reading this book. I’ve learned what it can be like to grow up in an Irish family in the neighborhoods of Southie, Boston. And I’ve learned about what it can be like following the punk rock scene in the United State. However all of that is nothing in comparison to the final lesson I learned from reading Easter Rising. On page 244 of the book Easter Rising, Macdonald’s mother is talking to the father of an Irish man who had recently lost his son and she says the following, “Look, he’s just in another form! Do you understand? Look! You know how you’ve taken many forms in this life? First you were a small baby. Then you were a little kid running around these glens. Then you were a young man getting married. You’re not the same form you were even ten years ago! It’s like evolution. Throughout this life you just go from form to form! Well, it’s the same when you die. Your son is just in another form! Do you hear me?” This relates to the book Easter Rising so much more than anything else ever could, and I feel that is the absolute best closing for this book to have. Throughout the book, MacDonald has been faced with countless deaths of loved friends and family members. All of their deaths were so sudden and tragic, that for the most part MacDonald had no idea that they would die until he heard the news, or saw them laying there dead. At one point in the book, he is talking to a psychologist, and he tells her all about the deaths he has experienced. While he is telling this story, she is sitting there sobbing. However MacDonald admits that he doesn’t even really know if he is sad about any of the deaths in his life, because he doesn’t know what to think of it all. This relates to the book, not only because of the reoccurring theme of death, and death being just another form. But because throughout MacDonald’s

experiences in the book, he himself takes on many forms; a young boy who hops train with his brothers; a punk rocker, an adult traveling to Ireland. The quote that MacDonald’s mother said was the perfect way to end the book because, in a way, it makes the most out of the horrific events that have taken place all throughout MacDonald’s life, and the book. If it were not for that quote, I feel as though the lesson that I learned from the book Easter Rising would be close to negligible. By this I mean that I really would have had no lesson to connect with all the events that I read about. I would have been able to make connections between certain groups of events, but the connection I am able to make with what his mom said just links to whole book together for me. This makes the lesson that I learn so much more potent and meaningful for me, almost emotional. I feel like I was almost there with him throughout his life while it was all happening, just because I can link it to all the vents in the book. The quote his mother said also means a lot to me in my personal life; I always try and find something positive amidst even the most negative situations. I have never thought about events, or stages of my life as forms. However when I think of it this way, it seems so much more clear, and so much more easy to accept. Also, it makes so much sense to refer to it as a form because once something happens which changes you, you’re never going to be the same person after that. You’re permanently changed. This just like the way a caterpillar changes to a butterfly; once the caterpillar forms its cocoon, and then breaks out as a butterfly, it can never change back even though it was once a caterpillar. It’s a transformation. I want to relate this to one particularly bad and scary moment in my life. It was a cool, clear October night during my senior year of high school. I had just gotten back home after football practice, and my father was in an explosively bad mood. I never knew what he was really capable of when he was in this kind of bad mood. I didn’t know if he would lash out in anger for no apparent reason, or just try and sleep it off. Unfortunately, he took it out on me for coming home a little

bit later than he wanted me home, but I couldn’t help it. Yelling began, and a fight quickly ensued. I stormed out of my house ready to leave and never come back; at least that’s what I wanted to tell myself. In reality I was just going for a drive to get out of the house and try and relax. I started my car and sped off. I drove for close to an hour, just cruising all the back roads I knew, and some that I didn’t know. As the time passed I decided it was best for me to go home, but only after I cruised through one more neighborhood to waste a few more minutes. A few minutes before I chose to make one last detour it had begun to rain slightly, making the road barely wet enough to notice. It was certainly nothing that would be dangerous to drive on. As I made the turn onto the last road I would drive, I sped up to 60 MPH. As I hit 60 MPH I realized there was a hairpin turn ahead of me. I slammed on my brakes and tried to turn my car. As I did this I was skidding with my car totally sideways, and before I knew it the back of my car hit a bank of dirt and my car was spun, landing in a lake. To this day that accident haunts me. I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt, I was driving recklessly, I could have easily rolled over my SUV and landed upside down in the lake. There were so many things that could have gone wrong with would have resulted in me possibly not being here. This event resulted in me as a different form. Not the dead form, but a more grown up, responsible form. I believe that getting in my car accident was a blessing in disguise, because without that having happened I never would have changed who I was. I would never have started wearing my seatbelt and driving more carefully. Who knows, if I hadn’t gotten in that accident and changed then maybe my first accident would have been worse, and possibly fatal. In terms of death, death and the forms that people take on during their life fit together perfectly for me. When MacDonald’s mother was talking about how when people die, it is just another form, I felt a lot of emotion. I believe that when people die, their new form is not physical, or spiritual. It is a form

that takes refuge inside the hearts of their loved ones. Anyone who has feelings for the diseased person will take their new form and keep it alive inside their hearts through thinking about them, loving them, and still having emotions and feeling for them, even after death. Also while thinking about the quote MacDonald’s mother said, it made me begin to think about what kind of events in a person’s life could cause them to take on a new form. I came to the conclusion that any event that you are willing to let change you, will take you to a new form. By this I mean that any change that occurs to you, physical, mental or emotional will obviously change you in some way. And once you’re changed, you have taken on a different form because you are not the same. This may sound drastic, but to me a form is a concrete, set way that you are. So once you have changed, you no longer fit this previous mold you have set for yourself. Once you no longer fit this mold, another one must be made, and this new mold is your new form. A good example of this is if someone was to quit smoking cigarettes. They are still the same person, but they have made a change which no longer conforms to their original self, their previous mold, it has been broken. So now a new form is made to fit the changes that have been made. Another good example of this is a crab. When a crab grows, it outgrows its old shell, so it must shed its old shell and grow another one. While this is a drastic change, it is just another form that the crab is taking on in its life because the old form was no longer suitable for the crab’s life. The quote from MacDonald’s mother on page 244 was one that was both powerful in the aspect of the book Easter Rising, and in my life. It allowed for me to better understand the book and relate as well learn to accept the tragic events that occurred. Also, the passage allowed me to search deep within myself and truly understand that some seemingly unimportant events in life can play pivotal roles in changing you for either good or bad. Without having read, and deeply thought about the passage from MacDonald’s mother, I questions whether or not I would really look at certain aspects of life the same

way. I know for sure that I would not look at death the same way as I do now. I don’t look at is as such a bad thing anymore, and almost as more of just another step. It has, in a way, helped me look at death with less fear in my eye than I was previously able to do. This passage, as well as the book Easter Rising has made a huge impact on me and the perspective in which I will look at aspects of life.

Conclusion Living my life always looking through the dark is the brightest thing I have ever done. Seeing bad situations with a shining light has allowed for me to see a true message that I can use to live my life better than the day before. If I said that I wish I had an easy life, I would be lying. Having a tough life has allowed me to see the world in a new light. One that I never would have been able to see it in had I not gone through all the trouble I did while I was growing up. Seeing the good in a bad situation is one of the best characterizes a human can poses. While everyone else is seeing a situation and thinking to themselves how bad it is, and how bad the outcome is going to be, all they are doing is preventing themselves from gaining from the bad that is happening. Seeing the good in a bad situation allows you to always keep moving forward towards a better life. Whoever said having something bad happen to you means you’re going to be setback was wrong? The best things to learn from are the bad things in life, because they hold the best messages and lessons. Too many people let setbacks in their life hinder where they will end up in the end. A setback is not a roadblock, but it is just a mere speed bump. The person who suffers from the set back will feel it, but hopefully not let it deter them from their final destination. Being deterred from their final destination, or goal is not only a letdown to them, but to everyone around them. Everyone around you who cares for you invests time and energy into you in some way, shape or form. Seeing past a bad situation and finding something good in it is one of the keys to success in life, I believe. Everyone around you goes through bad situations, just as you do. While they do set you back sometimes, they can also help you out more than they can hurt you. If you simply give up whenever you are faced with a bad situation, then you will fail in life. But if you look deep into a bad situation and search for, and find something good among all that bad, then you will truly succeed in life. Not only

because you refuse to give up, but because you are able to gain the life lessons essential to be able to survive anything that could be presented to you. All you need to so in never quit when things get tough, and look for the best even in the worst of times. In the words of famous American author William Feather, “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.�

About the Author

George John Louzek III is a business major at Nichols College. He is a member of the Men’s Lacrosse team at Nichols, and an active volunteer in his community, helping both with youth lacrosse programs in the Dudley, MA area, and volunteering to help preserve nature. He was raised by his father George, who works for IBM. And his mother Janis, who is a school teacher, as well as his older sister Katherine. Born and raised in the wealthy southern New Hampshire town of Hollis, NH; George grew up playing many sports including baseball, basketball, and football. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, hiking, and just being in nature. However it was his love for lacrosse which would stick with him all the way up to, and through college. Combined with lessons learned throughout life, George uses his passion for lacrosse, and the life lessons he acquired while playing the game as inspiration for this book.

Living in the Dark  

George Louzek's final project

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