John Friedlich

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We Have Been There Before

Sometimes when I needed to step out of my world, to think, to try to find another perspective on a problem, I'd go to a small tavern not far from my home. The place is called the Warren Tavern. It's in one of the oldest parts of Boston, surrounded by a couple hundred year old brick buildings, gas street lamps and cobble stone streets.

When one steps through the tavern door, it's like stepping across the threshold of a time machine. The darkness of the small rooms is anything but cold -- it's nurturing. The low rough beams of the ceiling seem all too close to the heavily warn wide floor boards. The small proportions aren't confining though -- it feels more like a protecting benevolent arm rapped around you, guiding you to another time. But the history of the Warren Tavern, the conversations that took place in there over its small tables and mugs of ale were anything but safe.

This place was far more than John Warren's Tavern -- it was a meeting place of the fathers of the revolution. It was a place ferquently visited by Paul Revere, not for the price of the ale, but for the volatile, sometimes audacious spirit of the conversations. It was within the tavern's walls that the liberty tree blossomed, where our forefathers thrashed out the opinions of many, and charted the course of what must have seemed an impossible enterprise. They too must have faced the challenges of discord, but it was part of their growth -- a pruning of the liberty tree to promote new growth. They too must have had to get beyond the heat of conversations and turn talk into action, the action that lead to the lighting of a lantern in old North Church and the ride of Paul Revere.

Here we are now, in a tavern without walls; brought together as our forefathers were, by some common goals, some different goals, and by robust passions that have their way of sometimes triggering angry words better left unspoken. We too must again and again get beyond the heat of the moment. We too must galvanize our common thoughts and goals and distill the conversations into actions. We too have the ability to set off many shots that could be heard around the world, but only if we move beyond focusing on differences, the wrongs of the past, and if we find ways to bring patients with CFS/CFIDS/M.E. (PWCs), the medical community, and the government together to set off shots heard round the world. And instead of those shots being deadly bullets, they can be a better understanding of CFS/CFIDS/M.E., better treatments, and better lives.

© John Friedlich, 1996

This document may be shared in entirety
by any CFS/CFIDS/M.E. organizations, discussion groups,
bulletin boards, and PWCs.

And I hope our friends in England who struggle
with all the same challenges, don't take offense
at my metaphorical comparison with the revolution.
For in this battle there is no ocean between us
and we seek representation of all.

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