I've always heard the saying "seeing life through rose colored glasses" but I've never really stopped to think about what it really means. Not until this week. I've actually given it a lot of thought. The English novelist Thomas Hughes was the first to record the phrase in 1851. It means to see things in a favorable light--to have unmitigated optimism. Have you ever known anyone like this? For the most part, I have always had a bit of rose colored tint to my life. In most situations I have been able to see the positive side of the problem, to see the brighter horizon, to look past the negative. And for the most part, even after this past year, I am still a lot like that.
However, the tint is gone a bit. It has been made dirty by the crystal clear glasses that I have worn for the past year. 365 days of in-your-face reality. What I have witnessed, what our family has endured over the past year will stay with me forever. The tears I have cried, the prayers I have prayed, the friends I have made and lost....those are the things that change your perceptions of life.
I have seen children die. I have seen more suffering in the past year than anyone should witness in a lifetime. I have seen the most innocent of God's creation have their lives ripped apart before they even turned one. I have met so many broken-hearted mothers and father. Parents who would give their lives in a moment for their child to have another chance at life.
Those are the things that I still don't understand. Those are the things I still question every, single day. I don't get it. I never, ever will. Cancer is evil. It has no shame. It will destroy a life, a family and will never have remorse. Children are not supposed to die. They are not supposed to suffer. It's just not the way life should be. And these are the things that I have seen through my crystal clear glasses this past year. No amount of tint could ever change that.
But I have also been blessed to witness God's miraculous healing first hand. I have been literally pulled from the depths of despair on sevearl occasions by the hand of a loving God who has never forsaken me. I have seen my faith blossom (although I know it will never be complete). I have learned to let go of compulsiveness, control and fear. I have learned to walk day by day trusting in God to guide my every step. I have grown to cherish the now and live for the moment. I have been transformed. I am a new person. I still have my moments of "old me," but the change in my life has been amazing.
So while the past year was devastating, I know I am a better person for having lived it. So life gave me a raw deal for a while. So what? It's what you do with it that counts, right? The experiences, the lessons learned. I now know how to be a friend to those who have lost love ones. I now know what to say to a parent that has a child with a life threatening illness. I know how to pray for mercy, faith, peace and healing with unbridled passion. I have come close to knowing what it would feel like to be separated from a child forever. I know how to appreciate the small victories in life like elevated ANC, central lines that don't have to be replaced, 2/10th of a pound gained, only vomiting 5 times in a day. Learning to appreciate those little victories has made reveling in the big ones that much sweeter.
And while I may not be walking with rose colored glasses these days, I do walk through life with the lenses of appreciation. I can honestly say that I cherish every moment with my children. Don't get me wrong. I stay tired, I often get frustrated, I sometimes snap too easily and I even find myself longing for bedtime to arrive. But I still cherish every moment. I love my children more today than I ever have. Unless you have almost lost a child there is no way you can ever understand what I am saying. You just can't. There is an urgency of appreciation that I will forever live with. And I am SO grateful for it, too. I choose to view it as a gift. It's something I have been given and I wear it with pride. It's like a badge of honor. Lord, may I never take your gift to me for granted.
This is the Bible verse that I am claiming for the rest of Lucy's life. Our hope is in Him, our faith is in Him.
Luke 8:50 "Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."
February 23, 2011 will forever be the day that changed all of our lives but the way we have chosen and the way we will choose to handle every day since will define our lives. I may not live the rest of my life with unmitigated optimism, but I pray that I never lose all of the rose tint from my life.