August 23, 2014

And Then Life Happened

ALL OF LIFE IS GOOD. EVEN THE BAD PARTS.
 - Anita Stout

Things were going well! We had friends in town who we hadn't seen for quite awhile. We had big plans - lunch, seeing the town etc. and then the phone rang. On the other end was news that we not only didn't want, but had dreaded coming. My husbands mother, at 95, had fallen and broken her hip.

In an instant, everything changed. We had to say goodbye early to our friends, to our plans and to the "happy" that had surrounded us in the days leading up to that call. We went from the "real" world into the surreal world of waiting rooms, hospital rooms, cafeteria food, and suspended time.

We were brought face to face with another world. A world where people work 12 hour shifts and care for others at great sacrifice to themselves and their families. People who face illness, infirmity, death, and sadness for a living - and the gratitude we feel for them is overwhelming. 

It happens to all of us - the unexpected. We can't plan for it, schedule it, or avoid it. It's not a matter of IF it will come calling or knocking on our doors, just a matter of when and with what. It's LIFE. Not the fun part, I'll admit, but it's life nevertheless. 

These moments shake us from the silly sense of control we believe we have over things. It wakes us up to the fact that our time here and with those we love really is finite - no matter how good we are at pretending otherwise. It reminds of us things like: bodies are fragile, and our health will not always be what it is today. Unexpected things do for us what Mark Twain suggests: Takes out our brains and shakes them up. He says they get gummed up and I'm inclined to believe him.

The reality is that none of us would choose age, or infirmity, or loss but if we're alive, it's a sure bet we will. Not only that, but we can put money on being the cause of someone else getting that call at some point or even several points in our lives as well.

So, does that make life bad? No. It makes life real.

In these moments and days after the call, our focus and attention has been radically redirected. We've been given time - unscheduled, unplanned, and unavailable time - to spend with someone who matters more than many of the other things we would have otherwise been attending to. We have been forced to look inside ourselves and find things that also get all gummed up in a busy life. Things like compassion, strength, sacrifice, and service. We've been given hours to reflect on who and what is important. Those are all GOOD things.

So, that leads me right back to my first statement: All of life is good. Even the bad parts.That's my story and I'm sticking to it!


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