I'm not sure if that's even a word, but at any rate it's something I've been thinking about lately. Jess recently wrote an eloquent (of course) blog post about what makes her son Connor special. Actually, she was responding to the very suggestion that he is "special", and what that word means to her and to others. Go read it -- it's good stuff.
And my immediate reaction was that of course he's special, in fact her whole family is special, in an entirely positive way that I tried very hard to convey in a comment to her blog post, but I couldn't quite get the words right. In fact, I confess that I rewrote the comment several times before I submitted it, and even then it never did capture what I was trying to say. And I'm pretty sure this post won't capture it either, but in re-reading Jess' original post I came across a line that clarified the matter a bit for me. Here she is describing Connor, "...who, like all of us, is doing his best to make the most out of what he’s been blessed with."
And that's just it. I'm sorry to disagree with you, Jess, but that's exactly what sets both you and Connor apart from most people. Most of us don't do our best to make the most out of what we've been blessed with. If I'm at all typical, then most of us waste our energy trying to come up with excuses for why we use so very little of our potential, or bemoaning all the things we aren't blessed with. Every now and then I recognize this, and I vow that I will do better, that I will invest my energy and resources into doing the best I can with what I have. And I think I've made a little progress in recent years. Certainly, having a child and feeling the overwhelming love and joy that come from just holding him, watching him, being present in the moment with him, has done a lot to redirect my emotional energy in more productive ways. But in other areas of my life, I still err on the side of crankiness and excuses.
Jess and her family live 3000 miles away from me. My only window into their lives is her daily blogs. They ring true, but what do I know -- maybe she puts up a good show. Well, we all put up at least a little of a show. Our inner lives are always more turbid and confused than our blog posts suggest. But still, Jess' ring true, and I know that the optimism and faith in life, love, and family that radiate from her posts are real, and a daily inspiration. You don't see it, at least not to this degree, in every family. My life may not (yet) exemplify it, but I'll credit myself with the sense to recognize it when I see it.
"I Cannot Even Smile Here"
3 months ago