There are not many advantages to having some years under your belt, but there are a few. One of those is perspective. The ability to recognize the inconsequential, the fluff, and yes the BS, from the things that are really important. That coffee stain on a new shirt, the mistake that kept you from getting an “A” on the exam, the guy who just cut you off in heavy traffic, the dead battery on your car, the slight you received at work … all inconsequential, fluff, or BS.
This Wednesday as I was preparing to leave work, I got a phone call from Mrs. Poppy telling me that Fiona, our beautiful little 14 month old granddaughter, started having seizures at the doctor’s office while getting her scheduled exam and shots. Furthermore she had been taken to the E.R. No additional information was available at that time, so on the drive home to pick up Mrs. Poppy, my imagination filled in the blanks … she’s going to be fine, it’s no big deal … I’m going to have to bury my granddaughter … everything will be OK, just relax … she will have permanent brain damage … it’s just a minor hiccup … how will I live without her … etc. These schizophrenic thoughts were punctuated with prayers that contained heavy theological content with deep potent that went something like this, “Please God, please…please…please”.
Arriving at the E.R. I wanted to find the entire staff gathered around Fiona’s bed, focused on taking care of her and disregarding all other patients and duties. Instead I found our family in a darkened room, gathered around a tiny figure, unconscious and attached to various glowing, beeping instruments, sporting an oxygen mask that was strapped to her tiny head. I must have landed in some sort of temporal anomaly, because while my head and heart were racing the E.R. staff seemed to move at a very leisurely, almost nonchalant pace. Because of the length and severity of her seizures, the eventual decision was made to transfer her to the children’s hospital here in town for overnight observation and more tests the following day.
Fast forward almost 24 hours later, the EEG was administered and the results were finally in. The emotional pendulum abruptly swung the other way. All clear! No brain patterns that weren’t perfectly normal! Fiona is coming home!
Lessons learned … life is precious … take nothing for granted … family is important in spite of our flaws … all families are not as blessed as ours, reach out with love and empathy to those who are hurting.
In closing, two quotes from sources that couldn’t be further apart.
From a gaming site: “Lives Remaining – Zero” … in other words, this is our one chance to do the best we can, to make a difference, to reach out, to love, to support, to foster the better angels of our nature.
And from the Bible … Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”.