Occasionally in one’s life, events occur that define the contribution you have made to your own progress and those that others have made to it. These moments come to define you, or at least help you understand your role in the world around you. Sometimes it’s things you’ve done. Other times, it’s those things that are done to and for you you that stand apart for their exceptionalism.
Several weeks ago, my rather ordinary life was turned on its head by the brief incursion of some sort of virus or bacteria, some illness seemingly not unlike many others that have flickered in and out of my life. What started as a sore throat, though, quickly grew to a battle against which I spent two of the hardest weeks of my life fighting. Nearly two week’s hospitalization. Dozens of tests. A seizure thrown in for good measure. In the end, it was a horribly frightening experience to undergo, and the aftermath will likely be felt by me for months to come.
But it was in the exhibitions of care and compassion by so many around me, so many who easily could have been merely patient, understanding, and vaguely interested, but instead went above and beyond all expectations to ease my suffering and support me that struck me most.
I’ve always been blessed with a close family. But the time and energy spent by my siblings and parents to truly remove all forms of stress and pressure during my hospitalization was incredible. I’ve always understood intellectually the strength of friendships I have forged around me, yet somehow fallen short of comprehending the incredible warmth and sacrifice of those around whom I’ve flitted.
If kindness and compassion shown by others in our times of struggle is a measure of the quality of friendships we’ve forged, I’ve done a masterful job in my life. But quite honestly, I don’t think it’s that. I’d love to be able to take credit for the strength of others’ actions. But that’s NOT mine to take. No, that countless friend after friend voluntarily stepped up to lend a helping hand…taking my loving, yet rambunctious Golden Retriever in while I was hospitalized, finding the time to visit and lift my spirits during some of my darkest hours on the renal ward, covering for me in professional and personal endeavors when I necessarily dropped the ball and couldn’t show up, or simply sent me text, phone, or email words of support at the most opportune moments reflects on them as people, not on the efforts I’ve made to build friendships with them.
So, I’m glad to back in the “land of the living,” a state of being made even brighter by the realization of the wonderful souls existing in my world. Sometimes it takes a moment of misfortune for us to realize the light and positivity that surrounds us, external to us, but that enriches our every move. To those who have given so much of themselves to so enrich my life, I thank you most warmly. You have inspired me to spend more time in my life simply reflecting on what makes my life so wonderful.