“I have learned the true definition of hell.” That was written recently by a mother watching her child suffer, fighting one of the deadly histio diseases on its relentless march through another defenseless body. It’s a horrifying and helpless feeling. My heart breaks for the parents as well as the children when I read their stories.
When I look back on the nearly five decades of my life, I realize that two general phases have cycled back and forth through it all. There are stretches of okay, middle of the road times that have lasted months or even years, interrupted by wrenching, stressful bottoms. The truly wonderful moments haven’t been stretches at all, but just that…moments. But I’ve been blessed that the vast majority of my life has been spent in the averages versus the lows. The lows sure stick with us, though. I remember a stunning level of detail from those times. I am grateful not to have had more of them and am right now walking a leisurely country road.
Then suddenly you get a peek into someone else’s life who is at this moment deep in the pit, and you remember what it was like to be there. All the details–the overwhelming emotions and scars you still carry–come rushing back. And it hits you: those middle of the road stretches are the good times. You haven’t been cheated out of some third, higher level of bliss, in spite of what modern media and our consumer culture try to tell us. Life will never be perfect. Any time of my life where we’re all relatively healthy and safe and together, with a sound roof over our heads and enough to eat is good. Yes, life is very good.
“Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about.” –Rollo May