Sunday, March 30, 2008

No good time for a malady

I was all prepared to write a rant of sorts about the overdone nature of the modern kid’s birthday. However. You’ve been spared said rant, because we’ve had to postpone our boy’s big birthday celebration. The day before the festivities, as preparations were in high gear, the child had the nerve to spike a fever out of the blue.

And it suddenly put everything in perspective. Nothing else in your life is good when someone you love—especially your child—isn’t well. Or, perhaps I should say that good things still abound, but you can’t savor them the way you’d like to, because you’re all wrapped up in the wellness issue.

I have some ladies in my life, and whenever I see them, I am reminded of this perspective lesson. These women face the daily battle of caring for and supporting a daughter who is ill. And we’re not just talking flu or virus here, people—we’re talking illnesses that require miracles to disappear.

In one case, the daughter is older, a woman in her own right…but still in tremendous need because of the health-related struggles she faces. Another daughter is college-aged, a child-woman. Yet another is a girl, nearly a teen in some ways but in many ways still very much a completely dependent little child. And the moms of these gals are pretty amazing. They inspire me and others around them—with their tirelessness, their determination, sometimes with their unending faith in God and his healing powers, and at other times in their sheer will to get through each situation. In every case, these ladies inspire me to just be thankful, to count blessings, to look back and focus on wonderful times instead of zeroing in on the far less numerous hard times. And it’s not just the moms who inspire; dads too, even entire families, are all team members in this unceasing mission to love a loved one.

So, we’ll celebrate the birthday a week later, assuming the boy is up to the challenge with no fever in sight. And through the second housecleaning, the second round of shopping, the flurry of guests and cake and wrapping paper that follow, I will thank God: I’ll try to remember to be grateful that this fever, already passing today, was just that: passing. It was not a part of everyday existence. It was something to get through in a couple of days, not a challenge to endure for months, years, perhaps a lifetime. It was a hiccup in the life of a healthy kid.

Which is pretty darned small, when you consider the alternatives.

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