Sadness; even then there may be beauty. 

     You learn through experience, so it has been proven. The child that touched a hot stove, the injury to the flesh is his teacher. The child can see, feel and touch why he should in the future beware of hot stoves. Of course, there are some words spoken but this lesson is tangible and straightforward. The process by which we learn about emotion, well that can be a different experience all together. 

     The nursing profession is a wonderful venue for experiences that could, if one was receptive, teach the more difficult life lessons. I value the years I spent completely and solely dedicated to nursing.  There are experiences that penetrated my being and have resided there since.  Whether labeled “happy” or “sad”, each is equally as vital to my development. I recall this one in particular often. 

     I could not have been older than 26; I was an eager and conscientious RN on the L&D unit. My eyes were wide open and I was still walking in my dream world.  I would climb a mountain with a laboring Mom on my back if it was required! It was an inclusively demanding job but I relished in it, an easy smile planted on my wrinkle free face. 

     This particular day a call bell rang at the nurse’s station and like many others, what beckoned changed my life, it changed me. It was lunch time, it was “busy” and nurses were making a feable attempt to eat something. 

     A preceding “biinnng” and the light lit up above Birthing Room 6. I was in the doorway two doors down leaving my patient’s room. I considered my options. I knew her nurse was off the unit for a moment.  I took a deep breath and it came to me what I should do~ I vowed to remain calm, helpful and pleasant. I would behave as I normally would. My gut instructed my feet forward with a pleasant smile. 

     The large wooden door was completely closed for privacy purposes. Her room was the farthest away from the hustle and bustle of the unit. I reached for the metal handle and gently opened the door. Even then, the privacy curtain was partly pulled and obscured the view of the room. I pulled it aside and focused my eyes on the bed and the patient. I knew she was not alone, but I allowed myself to only register her in that moment.

     She looked tired, as they all ultimately do, but she still managed to return my smile. She had a simple request that escapes me now, but what came after never has. 

      As I finished assisting her as I typically would, I quietly turned to leave. In the rocking chair at the opposite corner of the room sat her husband. He cradled a still bundle of blankets. He himself was still. His attention held by the tiny features that managed to peak out from the blankets. I turned my attention to him and then to the bundle as I moved towards him.

      I softly smiled and asked respectfully, “May I see him?” He nodded but kept his faithful gaze on his son. I leaned in and took in the beautiful, perfect face of his son. 

     I gently pulled back the blankets from his forehead, a soft tuft of hair poked out. I took in his delicate ears, his strong nose and his angled chin. His lips slightly blue, his spirit gone. 

     “He is beautiful.”  I whispered loud enough for both parents to hear. I added, “What’s his name?” 

      His father politely responded but his attention stayed on his son’s face, searching for something lost in his arms. 

     Weeks passed, I unexpectedly received mail at work. Intrigued, I opened it. In it, a descriptive and thoughtful “Thank You” card that expressed a sentiment I will never forget; 

“You may never know how much your kindness meant to me. I will never have the chance to hear others call my son ‘beautiful’. I am forever grateful for you that day.”

      I would care for other bereaved parents with every ounce of compassion and humanity with her as my beacon. Today,  when others remark how happy my job must have been, I always agree. But, this is typically followed by a pause and a sympathetic frown, “Well, not always; I would imagine?”

      I have not ever quite been able to articulate, “Yes, not always. In truth, sprinkled between those happy, exhilarating moments, there were moments that could only be described as beautifully sad.”

      

     

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Could it be? 

A discreet bow out of a toxic situation or place, is this essentially a nod to peace?

When, rather than argue a point that would no sooner be mute, one allows a pause instead and perhaps enables peace?

“Letting go” instead of committing to all personal injustices unseen and unappreciated, could it be? Choosing peace?

A word, deed, or lack thereof that pulsates and throbs within one’s chest, yet forgiveness swiftly soothes without the urge for reciprocation. Yes, this must be, choosing peace.

Limiting confrontations to only a few absolutes and choosing to give in while not at all giving up, all those times…wow, all along.

It is, choosing peace.

“Be Strong.” 

     Courage is not the absence of fear. It is glaring through its dark, desolate eyes and sinister, gruel grin declaring, “I will overcome you.” 

     Positivity is not the absence of sadness. It is rediscovering the beauty of your smile even in a storm. It is welcoming love in each and every moment. It is being grateful every single day, no matter what. Your arms may be sore from steering yourself clear of the turbulent currents, but you always find yourself at the peaceful water’s edge…smiling. 

     Strength is not the absence of weakness. It is discovering your ability even through your weakness. You may have a gentle step, but you faithfully continue your journey even still. Your footing may be at moments uncertain, but it is certain that the strength of your backbone will carry you. The strength of your heart is your super power.

     This is the Yin and Yang of life. But above all this, above everything else, is love~ always, always there is love. 

Consider for a Moment, a Moment…

     The moments that pry aside the noise of everyday life; creating a welcoming pause from the constant drumroll of time carelessly passing. The moments where you feel your feet firmly planted in the foundation of all life, while at the same time your spirit is inexplicably lifted beyond. Some call them “lightbulb” moments, others an “Aha” moment. It’s as if God himself is whispering, “it’s me.”      

     I am presently fixated on the concept of a “moment”. Maybe, I foolishly think I am smart enough to trick Mother Nature into stilling for us. Perhaps, she generously provides those willing a reprieve from time to time. In any case, I value such moments. The ones that never leave us no matter how efficiently time seems to be orchestrating our lives. 

     The constellation of a lifetime of moments creates the cohesiveness of our memory. Gently, delicately plucking at this beautiful arsenal of a life, someone’s life, my life, is an exercise in expressing gratitude for a life bestowed. 

     One simple, yet valuable such moment in my life was when Brooke was about 6 months old. She sat in her beloved bouncy chair on our blue Formica kitchen counter. I stood directly in front of her, sleep deprived. My hair in a messy bun, not one stitch of make-up or Mom glam radiating from me. But, I can still hear the sound of her laugh & relish in the sparkle that lit up her dark brown eyes. She faithfully erupted in this full out, belly laugh each time our neighbor started his leaf blower. 

     It was then that I made the commitment to never forget that seemingly ordinary moment. I knew enough, even as a relatively young, novice Mom that time may not always be my friend. This was a “moment” to treasure~ the absolute joy my child was feeling. I knew that my life was then and henceforth intertwined in each of her moments of joy.  

Why share? 

Journaling has long been an outlet for me in processing the quandaries of life. I have “shared” in spiral notebooks, journals, letters, poems, stories, scrap paper  and most recently social media. I have shared my most private self, my authentic self.  Once my mind arranges my feelings and thoughts into coherent expressions, I consider myself shared even if it is in an old, dusty journal at the back of my closet!

In the era of the Internet, it seems the pen and paper of my youth is becoming old school. For me, it seems a natural progression to start a blog.  I typically experience a moment, a day or an occasion and then express it through writing.

The big question that I consider this morning is, “Why have I shared? Why do I serve my life on a platter, my innermost thoughts and feelings, for other’s to judge?” I could just be a normal person and share just a glance into my life; a picture of myself radiating happiness or simply what I ate for dinner. Even better, not share at all. There are moments that I wish that for myself. I doubt myself and I feel incredibly vulnerable. I question whether even just one individual values my sharing or my writing.

As I recently shared in a Facebook post, “It is only in becoming absolutely vulnerable in love that you discover how infinitely strong you truly are.” I realize that in embracing and loving my most instinctive and creative self, I may at times feel vulnerable, but mostly I am proud of the strength it requires to share. Each time I share, I have overcome my fear of judgement and of self-doubt. I am stronger for it. I remain faithful to myself, not to the opinions of others.

The most persuasive motivation for sharing truly lies in connecting with others authentically.  The fulfillment that arises when your sentiments safely land on another’s heart ~ there is not much else that compares in the sharing realm. If by sharing, I  am enabled to encourage, to  inspire or to advocate for another, even one, I am lifted beyond any negativity or judgement~ to a reality I have only experienced through sharing.

I have read that in today’s world, the motto is, “I share therefore I am.” I was not encouraged when I first discovered this, it was not a positive expression. The message seemed to imply that by constantly sharing snapshots into your life, you gained validation for it. This, of course, is not healthy. I constantly consider this.

I can only hope that in honoring my instinct to share my most honest and genuine self, that love itself will be validated. I hope to share for all of life, not just my own.