Life’s painful events can have an uncanny way of revealing so much about ourselves, our relationships with others and what matters most in life.
Over the past fortnight, I have witnessed my beloved Dad go through an unplanned yet significant medical procedure. It was heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time. Even writing these words today brings tears to my eyes. At first there was shock and disbelief at having to quickly come to terms with a life-threatening condition. Then understanding the options, the reality of the surgery, the risks, the potential complications and the dreaded stories of those who don’t ‘make it’. If there could ever be the perfect recipe for fear, then this had all of the essential ingredients! Despite his fears, the greatest being for his own life, Dad showed tremendous faith and courage to go ahead. With full family-support from my Mum, brother, sister and I, the day of the surgery was one I’ll never forget. In the hospital ward, in between all of the medical checking and double-checking just waiting, it was hard to speak words. Dad was feeling it all, like going to hell and back I guess. But still there was nothing left unsaid. The strong loving presence that emanated between us said more than words could in any case.
Then in a matter of hours it was over, and Dad was ‘there’ again. Such joy and relief! Although his face was pale and his body raw, we knew that he would be okay. Day by day, recovering his charm, regaining strength, taking steps and breathing deeper, Dad’s had a rebirth. And we have too. Dad’s willingness to be scared, to be completely overwhelmed with emotion and to be held by those who love him, has been an incredible teaching. When you can walk through fear, on the other side is profound love – they are two sides of the same coin – and this applies to us all. When we open to love, fear gets healed and soon loses its place. “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” ~ James Arthur Baldwin