Bob Massie’s Survival Story

Program 191 • 29 mins


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Some people are so devastated by illness that they become withdrawn and even bitter. But for others, like Bob Massie, the challenge of physical ailments produces a ripening of compassion, a deep, first-hand awareness of suffering and of the need to be of service to others who suffer. Massie was born with hemophilia, a very painful disease that impairs the body’s ability to stop bleeding. A succession of blood transfusions also exposed him to HIV and hepatitis. Yet he managed to succeed academically (attending Yale Divinity School, becoming an Episcopal priest, and later earning a doctorate from Harvard Business School). In this episode, Massie tells the story of how his long battle with various illnesses sensitized him to human distress and deepened his commitment to helping people and protecting the environment we all depend upon.

I don’t want to sound Pollyannaish. I mean, I went through some very, very hard things, and they scarred me, but they also taught me. And one of the things they taught me is that I think a key to joy, and strength, and life is to locate the things for which you can be grateful, rather than be preoccupied with the things that you think you deserve that other people got, and you didn’t get. I think my parents had a lot to do with that attitude, I think my incredible wife had a lot to do with that attitude, and I think my faith had a lot to do with that.”

—Bob Massie, medical survivor, Episcopal priest, and advocate of sustainable economics


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