It is kind of funny
at times to think I have the power to control something, but when I step back and observe whatever it is, I realize that I have ABSOLUTELY the furthest thing from control over it. A constant challenge for me, and I think for a lot of people, to let things be as they are. The serenity prayer is a favorite ‘go-to’ in times like these:
God (or insert whatever word you use here) grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Now to where I was planning on going…..To me, health is something that is extremely taken for granted. I always hear stories about people, and have seen it first hand, that when diagnosed with a disease and then thankfully given a second chance at life, begin to stop and question things, to really look at their lives and work to adjust their lifestyle in a way that better suits their wishes and desires. The externals are stripped away, and what is most important to them shines through. When you think about it, we are given this one chance (for all we know at the time), why wouldn’t we do that?
I would like to share something that I witnessed this weekend that has continued to stay with me. I was in the city at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. There was a woman probably somewhere in her 40’s who was a patient in the hospital. She was strikingly beautiful. She also looked very sick, weak, pale face, protruding cheek bones, in a robe, slowly walking around the ward with an IV pole and her teenage daughter by her side, arm in arm, while the husband and younger daughter walked a few steps ahead of them. They were doing laps around the floor, so that the mother could get up and around. Although she appeared very ill I was able to notice the indescribable joy, that a mother has for her child, emanate from her eyes. The daughter was telling her mother all about her finals, how she performed on each one, the friends she studied with, which teacher was helpful, etc. The mother listened so intently, she hung on every single word. When her daughter was finished speaking she stopped, looked at her daughter in the eyes, smiled and said so genuinely, “Sophie, I’m so proud of you.” The daughter said, in the same manner, right back to her, “Thanks Mom.”
I’m still carrying this interaction with me, and it still has a profound effect on me whenever I think of it. What could have easily been a routine, every day conversation between a mother and daughter was so much more than that. I felt the need to share because I think there is so much that can be learned from these two people. The depth of their connection, the presence that both of them shared with each other in that moment. The love. The pain. The sadness. The joy. The raw feeling of the moment. Who knows what point the mother was at in her illness, what kind of cancer she had, to me that wasn’t important. What was important, was that I’m sure this family had been through some very difficult, painful times, and that will most likely continue. That aside, here was this mother and daughter openly sharing their delicate lives with each other, able to experience a moment of joy and pride, that could have been felt by any bystander.
We go through our daily life sometimes never tuning into our emotions. On a daily basis, we rarely make these types of connections because we are so far removed, pulled away to the outside world. I think, often times, it can take a sickness, an injury, a disease, a threat to our existence or a loved one’s existence to remember to stop each day and smell the roses. To really appreciate the simple beauty of our daily life. The reality is we all have certain gifts, but we all have certain challenges. What we can do (something we can control!!) is appreciate each other, love each other, and take the time out of our days to make sure our loved ones know how much we love them and that we are proud of them.