I’m in survival mode.

Which is good, because it means I am more likely to survive.

This situation I am going through with my son has changed everything about the way I see life.

First and foremost, I’m not special. So many other people have experienced so much loss, pain, grief, struggle, and despair, and have simply continued to live out their lives. I’m not a special case and I don’t deserve any badges or awards for dropping everything and reordering my life around the needs of the people around me.

I haven’t earned any extra sympathy.

My pain is just a symptom of being alive.

That is a hard way to look at it. But somehow it is true. I could take that reality and go negative with it – life is just pain and sorrow so why am I even trying? And that is what happens with people. That’s what happened with my son. It is what we are working to overcome.

I believe that I am here for a reason. There is a purpose so much larger than myself. It propels me.

I look back at my ancestors and I see how many of them buried young wives, buried men at the apex of their strength, buried multiple children lost to the ravages of simply being born or to the cruel demands of disease. So many of the people who came before me experienced suffering at soul-shaking levels. How did they survive the pain and go on to remarry, have more children, rebuild, and remain productive? Their resilience, I realized, is the basis of my existence. If they had laid down and wallowed in their grief, I would not be here.

And I do want to be here. I do want to live my life however it is given to me.

I heard something from a pastor somewhere that stuck with me. To paraphrase – life is hard. There are many dark places and frankly, a great deal of this journey is difficult and disappointing. But all along the rocky paths, the steep climbs, the falls into despair that we long to escape, there are moments of grace to be captured. There are spots of the most incredible beauty to be enjoyed. There is wonder. Awe. Healing.

There is love. I have to keep my eyes open and look for it. It is worth the effort.

Survival mode means radical acceptance. I look at my baby grandson and I notice how babies simply trust. What must it feel like to, at any moment, be swept up and held by a large human? Taken to another place? Little Charlie has no idea what will happen to him or where he is going. But he has the kindest, most gracious and accepting nature. He smiles. I imagine that he thinks, “oh, this is what we are doing now.”

I have no idea what the rest of today will bring. Where will I be? What will I experience? It could be my usual day, or there could be incredible tragedy around the corner. From moment to moment, I try to remember the lesson I learned from my tiny grandchild: oh, this is what we are doing now. Alright, I accept it fully.

  1. My struggles are not unique.
  2. I look for beauty in the hard places.
  3. I radically accept whatever life brings.

At least this is what I try to do. When I succeed, life is good.


  1. Your blog today really spoke to me. You are an amazing women and said things I certainly needed to hear. God bless you on your journey.

    1. Thank you, Patricia, for your encouragement. I’m so glad that my words have helped you somehow. Life is quite a journey, isn’t it? I hope you are well.

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