Friday, March 03, 2006

Life is never easy

Life is never easy, true. But the upside of life is it's waaaaay better then the alternative. Sometimes it's hard to remember that when you're feeling stressed and worried and overwhelmed. Yet when life turns topsy turvy, it helps to be able to find a bright side.

I think I'm finally coming down out of the frazzlesphere where I was rocketed the night before last when we got a phone call from our son Joe. Remember me mentioning that he had jumped out of an airplane the other day? Well, he did it again, and this time he wasn't watching quite carefully enough where he was going and he hit the ground. Uhm, I mean, before he had planned to. In not quite the way he'd planned. Bottom line, he broke his back.

Sounds frightening, yes? Okay, that was a stupid question. The upside of this scenario is he is ALIVE and he can move all his fingers and toes. And really, from my perspective, that's it. That's the whole story. This is enough. Did I mention the whole being ALIVE part!?

Of course, from his perspective, life sucks a little bit more than that at this point in time. There's a long road ahead for him, of pain and recovery and delayed or perhaps permanently shelved plans. It will be one day at a time and he won't know for awhile how much this will impact his life on a permanent basis. My view is that any time one goes through something this traumatic, it impacts, changes you forever, even if you come out the other side healthy and whole of body. Even if you're physically the same as you were before, have the same strength and motion, YOU aren't the same person for having gone through the experience.

I believe in fate. Rather, I don't believe in a fate so set in stone that you have no other choice but to walk in front of that car or marry that particular person. I think we all have free will. But I do think our lives are created by the sum of our actions and that the swell, the wind, the story that we create makes eddies of options and that fate nudges us. Okay, sometimes fate slams us into the ground.

I guess on a sliding scale between "things are arbitrary" and "things happen for a reason", I'm closer to the latter. I don't think bad things happen to punish us. I do believe, however, that they happen and we get to choose whether to use them or let them use us. In this case, regardless of the outcome, Joe has a lot of time to think about what this accident will make of him in a broader sense. Will he become a more insightful, compassionate, and gracious man, or a more resentful or bitter one? As a mom I despair at the emotional, mental and physical pain he will endure, but in my heart I have faith that he will choose to use this to become a better person.

In the meantime, I thank the stars above and the earth below for my wonderful daughter-in-law who flew across the continent and, at this very moment. is by my son's side. I am grateful for 4-wheel drive and a credit card with room on it that will allow me to drive down this coming week to visit, help out, and see him with my own two eyes. And hug him fiercely. Fiercely but gently, carefully.

Okay, I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Moving on....

If that's not enough, I'm also going to my daughter's baby shower tomorrow. The seeing my daughter and two adorable grandsons is the good bit of that part of the plan. The looking out the window now at the storm and hoping it's blown through and the highways are plowed before I need to go over the mountains tomorrow morning part is the not so good bit. Since the four hour drive to my daughter's is a third of the trip to my son's in San Diego, I'll just keep going from there. That means in what's left of today I have to decide, find, gather together, and pack whatever needs or wants a mom, teen, and chihuahua will need for a week of living "on the road."

I'm doubly exhausted thinking about that.


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