Mar 15, 2011

The Beauty of Perspective

It has been a rough few weeks at the elaborate and elegant Staples Resort and Spa.  The kids, who usually are pretty healthy, have gone through several cycles of illnesses.  Heather actually had to reschedule her last exam because she missed so many days during her bout with the plague.  We went down to visit my mom over Heather's spring break.  During that trip the two older kids and my mom were stricken with food poisoning.  Gabe had a massive allergy attack there, which segued right into a combination of ear/sinus/eye infections.  And then, something finally got me this morning.  I spent more time on the toilet today than anywhere else.  (Oh, was that too much transparency?)

Other things have been jumping onto the pile as well.  Financially, its one of those tighter stretches.  As I shared in a previous post, the Libyan situation has kept Defender in stasis.  The move to Orlando is coming up closer and closer - and with it the expenses of getting established there.  And, to top it off, one of the fish the kids won at the Strawberry Festival tried to commit suicide last night by jumping out of it tank.  We saved it, but it is pretty obvious it isn't quite right.

The temptation today, especially while feeling sick and weak, is to wallow in my miseries.  And ordinarily, that is exactly what I would do.  I would mope and feel crummy.  My focus would quickly zoom onto myself and no one else.  Today, though, I have actually tried very hard to keep perspective.  Things that are going on around me have certainly helped.

  • We have a family friend who has spent the last two days at the hospital trying to discover what is wrong with their two year old boy.  He has been non-responsive twice in the last two weeks and no one really knows what is going on.  The parents are helpless, just waiting on doctors to perform a miracle.
  • This year, my sister has had her gall bladder removed.  Her son has had an appendix attack that nearly led him to need surgery.  That turned into massive bowel issues, complete with horrible pain and missing two weeks of school.
  • My brother is struggling to find a job in the lousy economy.  He goes to work at 4:45am every morning and still is coming up short.
  • On top of all of that, I am not doing this alone.  Today, Heather shuffled her schedule and came home early so she could take Gabe to the doctor.  She also took care of organizing dinner and correcting the kids.  It always blows my mind when I think about how hard it is for a single parent to walk this journey alone.  I have several friends who are in that boat.  It is always a quick perspective check when I think of their struggles.
Then we have the international situation...
  • Libya is something that is constantly on my mind, obviously.  Even now, when it appears the government is reclaiming power, the realization that those poor citizens are going to go back to the same problems.  And it probably will be worse, when you think about it.  Anyone who was even remotely involved in the rebellion will no doubt be killed.  And Gaddafi strikes me as a punitive sort.
  • At least a half dozen other countries are going through upheavals as well.  The idea of revolution has taken root and is spreading throughout the Middle East.  In each of those, there are lives lost as the people fight for freedom.
  • Our soldiers are still fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq - disarming bombs and helping those countries get established.  I have several friends serving in the military - leaving their families to help fight for people (who may not even want them there).  
  • New Zealand just suffered a major earthquake that obliterated an entire major city.  This has kind of been lost in the other tragedies.  Thousands of people were left homeless and national treasures were erased instantly.
  • Then there is Japan.  It is beyond horrible to try to fathom what just happened.  In an instant, a powerful country's fortunes were turned 180 degrees.  The death toll will probably end up near 10,000 people.  It is estimated that damages will top $10 billion.  Entire cities were erased.  And now there is the looming horror of a nuclear disaster.  Being a child of the 70s and 80s, nuclear accidents are something that has always terrified me.  Watching this plant disintegrate before my eyes, I can't even imagine how awful the Japanese people are feeling right now.  
Perspective.  It is a good thing.  Actually, when I think about the stuff going on all around - close to home and far away - it makes me feel pretty silly to get so worked up of a suicidal fish and excessive trips to the bathroom.  As I sat there last night, hearing my little guy crying and struggling to sleep and worrying about the fish, I started to pray about all the stuff that has been swirling.  It didn't help me feel better.  The reality is that I felt a little worse.  There is just so much pain out there.  It is helpful to remember that my pain is not the only one.  

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