I think the Shakers got it right when they said “Hands to work. Hearts to God.”
I know I tend to blow by things which go wrong when I am doing something I believe is good and right. I usually just refer to those things as “details” and pondering them endlessly as a way to get side tracked. If you can blow over it, do so. Then live with the results and the “details.” As I read more and more about people who have lived happy lives with chronic diseases, the number one thing they have in common is a desire for value in and to their lives. Most of them seem to have found it in their service to others or an ideal, whether it’s helping others with illnesses or saving animals. There is a desire for something to make their lives have a value beyond the costs of their suffering.
For me the something has been my kids. Ironically, my wife and I are getting some grief for fostering another child while our two kids are so young and needing of our attention. The sad thing is my wife and I talked about it for quite some time before agreeing to take in another child. While some on the outside may see a hectic life and wonder how we can think to take in another, I see it differently. At one point, a family member said (loosely paraphrased)”What you do now will be the model for your kids. This is the time your actions will most shape them…” They said it as an argument not to take on another kid because this is the time our kids need us most. I agree. The odd part as a parent is watching both of our kids try desperately to take care of and nurture the little girl. They try to understand her problems and relate them to their own while delighting in making her laugh or even just holding her. If these are ways our kids are being molded, I couldn’t be happier. I agree they need us most now, but they need us most to set examples of a good way to live and deal with problems, our own and others’. They need us to put them in positions to grow as people as well as in inches.
Yes, our life is more hectic. I am more tired. I am actually in more pain this week than last. All of that is just “detail,” as if not doing all I do on a normal basis would make me feel better. I’m not convinced my symptoms would just go away or even progress more slowly. I would just have not lived up to my potential and have to live with knowing I failed to use the energy I have. If as the family member said I am losing my ability to have conversations on the same level as I could in the past, so be it. Maybe I will loose my ability to be productive, but if I am to loose it, let it be doing something which matters. Let it be molding my kids into a culture where taking care of others is the norm expected of us even if others think otherwise. Let the culture of our family be “Do what you can when you can until you can’t.”
I’d be telling a fib if I didn’t confess my desire to one day print all of this blog to give them as teenagers. If the family member is correct, and I have lost my communication skills, maybe this blog will remind them of who I used to be. Maybe if I am really lucky, it will reaffirm the paths they take on their lives and quests to find a way to add value. Maybe they will just think me a sentimental crazy ding bat and hopefully as time goes by love me for it.