Sometimes life deals harder lessons than the regular daily menu. Our baby girl has been in i.c.u. for 3 months and come close to losing her life. The lesson feels like a Sunday roast, with gravy and roast potatoes.
Let me explain this analogy. Ever feel like you have too much on your plate? ’Bitten off more than you can chew? Struggle to digest all that’s going on around you? Long for life to feel a little more delicious?
Well, although it has taken some time to stabilize the overwhelming emotions of this experience, it has also nourished my character, fed my soul and gotten my family around the same table. We’ve used the family therapy understanding that a child’s suffering is often as a result of what they carry on behalf of their family system to look at what is happening. Its helped us to take responsibility for the unprocessed and undigested ingredients in ourselves that could be standing in our daughter’s way of biting fully into life’s rosy red apple.
This little person did not have a sip of milk or water across her lips for 8 weeks. Starving the illness out of her was part of the treatment. From one day to the next, off mom’s nipple and an instant kick out of the land of milk and honey. Poking, prodding, needles, body drains, surgeries, hunger, pain, broken bones, and still she is playing and smiling.
Friends and family remark how well we are dealing with it: that we can still approach each day with positivity. Firstly, our suffering is miniscule compared to what this little body has to endure. And secondly, there is no choice when life dishes you up one of these but to get on with it and do what you can to survive.
The learning is HUGE, and when I look at the bigger picture, it leaves me in awe and grateful for such a brave little soul who attempts to carry the injustices of our ancestral past on her tiny shoulders. She has taught us to live in the here and now; to take responsibility for our own health and happiness in the face of great anxiety and grief; to let our community help and hold us. She has deepened some friendships and helped let go of the ‘dead wood’. She has taught us to pray, to believe in miracles, to be in gratitude for even the smallest positive moment. She has taught us to talk to each other, to share our thoughts and feelings, take nothing for granted, and to be grateful for life and health. There is a massive life force that has kept our family lineage living and loving for countless generations, and she is at the apex of this movement to survive.
When she wakes up, she smiles. When she hears another baby cry, she cries. When she is uncomfortable or in pain she lets us know. Life is so much simpler than we all make it.
So my new daily menu, thanks to our little daughter:
1. Get through today one day at a time. Worry less about what I can’t control.
2. Health, family, relationships and community are everything.
3. Talk from the heart, listen from the heart.
4. Put energy into friendships that are mutually supportive and nourishing.
5. Find learning in difficult experiences. Even when one is powerless, one need not be a victim.
6. Cut the ‘dead wood’: schedules, wants, possessions, thoughts, anxieties, people.
7. Go to bed early, wake up early.
8. Be grateful for small things.
9. Life is beautiful and fragile
10. Love and hope.
Sounds like all the ingredients for a delicious life in general.