Perspective and Perseverance

While visiting with my son last night, we were remembering his grandparents-my parents. It is such a wonderful thing to pass on new stories and to re-tell the old ones.

No matter the story, two prevalent themes come through when I think of my parents.

Mother-often said “there is good and bad in everything”. It was a very valuable lesson. Daily I encounter an experience that creates an emotional response. The way that I see the situation, frames the way I feel about it. I have the choice of perspective every morning.

“When you wake up every day, you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative; an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It’s all a matter of perspective.” Harvey Mackay—although it could have been my mother, or myself for that matter.

Father-he was a little less verbal, so my lesson from him came from observation. I saw him slowly lose mom to dementia, and shortly thereafter be diagnosed with esophageal cancer. From diagnosis to passing was 2 short years. During those years, and while he went through surgery, and then chemo/radiation treatment, he continued to work on the log cabin he had started after mom passed away. I knew that he wanted to finish the cabin so that ‘his girls’ would not have to handle that task. He wanted to clear the land, so he continued to chop and saw wood. Every movement that he made brought him pain, yet he persevered to finish a goal.

“Patience and perspective have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams

I miss my parents. My spirit hugs theirs and daily I feel their influential presence.

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Would Cloning Erase Me?

If I could clone myself, I would have a challenge making a fair decision. I fear that one would have all the responsibilities and the other would have all the fun. How fair is that?

So then I would struggle over my decision as to which clone would I inhabit. I am pretty certain that I would choose the one that had all the fun. Yet how would I grow?

At 23 I delivered my second child.  My daughter was born with a crippling birth defect of spina bifida. She would require 11 surgeries by the time she was 2 years old. I was yanked from a happy go lucky young woman, to a busy responsible mother. Our days at the park, were interchanged with our days at the hospital. Certainly, we enjoyed our time at the park. We could smell the fresh air, feel the ocean mist on our cheeks, and picnic on a blanket.

In the hospital, we saw loneliness, suffering and heartbreak. But the hospital meant doctors and nurses who helped us. The surgeries mended and protected my daughter. Every room had a rocking chair. I would cradle my daughter, hug her against my breast, and sing comfort songs in her ears; all while we rocked in that old wooden rocking chair.

I learned life was precious. I learned how to be patient. I learned how to care. If I gave up those responsibilities would I still have learned those lessons?

Maybe. But they are all experiences that have made me who I am. I still love to rock. I have an old wooden rocking chair in my bedroom today. Perhaps, on some level, as I rock, my soul remembers those precious days and nights of rocking, and singing songs of comfort – for when I sit down and rock, I can feel my heart beat slow to a normal pace, the troubles of my mind soothe out and I discover a calm that I do not find anywhere else.

Perhaps, it is good that we are not yet able to clone ourselves. What we might choose to wipe out, might be the very essence of who we are.

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” John F Kennedy

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