Tuesday, 17 March 2015

the uncertainty of life

Annette Funicello — 'Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.'

I read an interesting blog post by Kathy Gottberg the other day that was titled "the truth behind 'you create your own reality'" and it made me stop and think about our first world perceptions of life.
In her final paragraph she says:

"What if creating our reality is less about making ourselves feel safe, protected and in control and more about trusting that we can be happy and at peace with the uncertainty of life no matter what occurs? Maybe it’s less to do with making sure everything works perfectly in our favor, to instead seeing everything as it unfolds as already perfect."

It is certainly a thought that has been niggling at the edges of my mind for a while now. I think what brought it to the forefront lately is the births of my great nephews and nieces (man that makes me sound old!) In our first world mentality we assume that we will fall pregnant easily, sail relatively unscathed through pregnancy and that almost all babies will born hale and healthy.

This erroneous thinking has brought me up short because my nephew and his wife (both in their mid 20's) had a little girl with Down Syndrome. She is absolutely beautiful and happy and delightful, but when they first started telling people it came as quite a shock and then there was the awkwardness of what to say that was supportive or empathetic - not the usual "just as long as she's healthy" platitudes that you normally spout. Then to top it off, my niece and her husband just had their second baby - a boy (they already had a daughter) and he has a cleft lip and palate. Not a huge hurdle - just lots of repairs over the next few years and a normal life to look forward to, but it makes the facebook baby announcement that bit more difficult - the cute baby photos are a little bit less than expected and once again people aren't quite sure how to respond.

We have created a world where we all expect to live happily ever after, never really touched by pain or hardship or less than perfect babies. Perhaps it's time to do a reality check and realize that what we see as our entitlement in this life might not be quite so tidily tied with a bow. Maybe we'll have to deal with messy stuff and hurdles. Maybe we'll have a less than perfect baby and find out that we love him/her as much or even more than we would if they'd been born without any problems. Maybe our husband won't turn out to be superman, maybe he'll have flaws or failings but does that mean he's any less worthy of being loved? Maybe our adult children will make choices that we aren't thrilled about, but does that make them wrong choices or even if they are wrong, maybe that's their life journey that they need to work through without being rescued as soon as they put a foot out of place.

Life is "perfect" if we choose to look at it that way. Resenting the hiccups that are a part of the big picture doesn't make them go away - it just turns them into bigger bumps. I always thought I wanted a gently sloping road  to travel....smooth under foot and bordered by rolling pastures - but then there would be a lot of adventures that I'd miss along the way. Riding the roller coaster and being in turn scared and exhilarated is what makes life interesting.  It would make me less compassionate (an area I need to continually work on) and life would be less real and probably fairly boring. I'm proud to have a couple of babies in the extended family who are completely unique in different ways to others. It makes me appreciate how special life is and that it is a gift to be gratefully received and enjoyed - to be "happy and at peace with the uncertainty of life, no matter what occurs".

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