If you have been following my blog for long, you know that this is one of my favorite sayings.
Life has handed David and me a tough hand in the last few years, but we’ve learned so much that it is all worth it. I’ve always read this quote thought of our battles. First, having a scary pregnancy and thinking our baby would not live. Then meeting our sweet Callie Anne and learning that she has Apert Syndrome. Next we faced surgery after surgery with dozens more to come. These are our battles. Well, these and all the other things that come with them. The pain and stress that our hearts carry is not always visible and it has taught us to keep this quote in mind when encountering others.
On January 11, we began a new battle. My brother’s wife was hospitalized with h1n1, double pneumonia, and later ARDS. She lost her baby at 21 weeks while in a coma, which she remains in today. I’m sure you’ve been following her story if you’re reading this blog. If not, go to the Facebook group “Love for Leslie.”
The thing about these personal battles is that life still happens outside of what’s going on in your hearts and minds. We still have to go to work. We still have to run errands and run a household. We still have a daughter to raise and care for. And even more than that, when we are out living our lives, we encounter people who have no idea what is happening in our hearts and don’t know to cut us a little slack when we are short with them or grouchy.
Today, after getting some not so great new regarding the progression of Leslie’s condition, I had to go run errands. While I was waiting for a very long time in line at the pharmacy to pick up Callie Anne’s medications, I found myself so frustrated that they were wasting my time and that I was the 4th car in line. When I got to the window, the lady was less than friendly. By the time I left I was aggravated and annoyed. Then I went to the marketing day for Rhea Lana so I could get fliers to pass out in return for an early shopping pass. (Callie Anne’s cute clothes don’t come cheap!) As I stood in line with dozens of other moms, I found myself looking around and wondering, “Does it show?” Does the pain in my heart show on my face? Is there any way these people know what I’m fighting inside?
The answer is no, of course. Well, with the exception of the smeared makeup and very tired eyes from the drive down there. But, the point is, they don’t know what I’m dealing with and I don’t know what they are dealing with. So, when I get annoyed at the long line of cars who are all picking up medications, the mom on the phone in front of me not paying attention, the kids running around like wild monkeys, or the lady that was not so friendly in answering my questions, I have to wonder…are they fighting a battle like I am? Do they deserve to be cut a little slack like I want them to cut me?
I’ve found myself wondering the same thing while sitting for hours and hours in the ICU waiting rooms during Callie Anne’s hospital stays and now Leslie’s. Those rooms are full of people hurting. When you are there, you know that everyone else there is fighting a similar battle to yours. You’re all worried, scared, and exhausted. . Hospitals are like an alternate reality. They are their own little communities and everything is different inside those walls.
But, it’s not that easy when you’re out in the real world. You have to dig deep to remember that everyone you meet deserves the same love you want extended to you. Now, does that mean you’ll never hear me say, “What the h-e-double hockey sticks is her problem???” Now way! But, hopefully, more often than not, I’ll step back and remind myself that I have no idea what is on her heart or mind.
There are so many things I hope we all learn from both our experiences with Callie Anne and now with Leslie. One of them, is to stop and look around every once in a while and ask yourself what the people in the room with you might be battling, and if you’re so inclined, just stop and say a quick prayer for them. You never know who you could be blessing.