My daily life. The struggles, successes and things that make me smile
Friday, January 20, 2012
The World Outside Ourselves
Sometimes it's very easy to get so wrapped up in our own struggles that we forget that there are others in the world who have it a little worse. Sometimes a whole lot worse. When I was young I had a lot of hurts. Nothing was ever easy. I lived by the mantra that what didn't kill me made me stronger. I had always been torn between religion and spirituality and the "modern' world and what was "my" world. It was really easy to be secular because in my youth I didn't see the bigger picture. It didn't feel as if I had any community. I had no way of knowing that if I reached out anyone would care.
I've been following the lives of a family living with the truth that their daughter is battling for her life against a genetic disease. The normal lifespan for a child with this disease is 18 months. Years ago I would have viewed their plight as one of the saddest stories. I wouldn't have fully grasped what they were going through. I still don't. I'm not in their shoes, not by a long shot but I am a parent who worries endlessly about her choices for her children. I worry endlessly about how my parenting will effect them. Am I giving them all that I can? Should I have done something different? I'm not struggling with whether to hold back food to my dying child so that she can breathe better as she fades away. I can't even imagine what it would be like to gaze down into my sleeping child's face and know that one day the disease would take her away and knowing that time is coming fast.
Through reading their story I've had confirmed some things I always wanted to believe were true. That the love of a parent for a child is the strongest force on earth. Secondly, that we are not alone, not in our regular live-a-day lives or in the dire circumstances of losing a child, spouse or parent. There is a community out there. There are good people who are ready to help you stand stronger while struggle through your own personal hell. There are people who will arrange meals to be delivered so that you don't have to even think about nourishing your own body. There are people who will stand outside your home with lit candles to remind you that you matter. That they support you, that you still belong to the whole, no matter what. That there are more of these wonderful people than there are bad people.
Can it be possible to wear your heart outside your body and still survive? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. My faith in humanity, community and love, is making me stronger though it hurts like hell.
We are all connected by a something much larger than ourselves. My faith has been fortified. My strength restored. All of my thoughts and prayers are with this family. They are far away from me but they are still out there, in the world beyond myself but my love and best wishes will reach them. I have faith in that.