So, many of you who know my son also know Sushi the Badger, a tangible manifestation of one of his many "imaginary" friends. Sushi is part of the family--sometimes a very annoying part, especially while we all sit in traffic during a rush-hour drive to the hospital--but it's a voice and a friend. What's a dad to do?
As we sat in the Clinical Lab--a euphemism for "Don't tell him he's going to get stuck again"--well past the onset of lunchtime hunger but before our next stop at Radiology, Sushi was there to keep my son company in his wheelchair. We're used to Sushi's noise and antics, but I was taken aback by the grunting screams that followed from the other side of the room! Sushi had caught the eye of a young deformed girl in a wheelchair, on a respirator. There were no words, only this strange cackle of sorts as one eye occasionally swept by and made contact with my son and his doll...
... and once they knew they had an audience, they both performed. Jumps, backflips, twists, dancing, waving, ... The girl was thrilled, and so were both the girl's nurse and her mother.
So was I.
Everyday is like this, reminding me that there's no way of knowing, reminding me to trust, reminding me to simply do my best as I understand it--but days visiting Children's Hospital are all of this under a microscope. There are full ranges of experience from suffering and facing death through bliss from a saved life, and all see each other in the hallways, the cafeteria, and the clinics' waiting rooms. Everybody there struggling for a parking place has a story of some sort or another. Somebody there is undoubtedly worse of than you--and undoubtedly you are that somebody to somebody else.
Human spirit and compassion. Sobering reminders reframing perspective. Ecstatic reminders that, at any time and under any circumstances, witting or not, anyone might be your salvation and you might be that for another.
I have my days wherein I wish everyone I encountered experienced military life so they would understand that we can pull together, drop egos, move in one direction, and get things done. On other days I wish people would take the time to expand their lives like this, through a little volunteer work or other activities, spending time outside of their limited worlds, finding true perspective in the full human condition. In the end, though, it requires no effort at all--all of this life really does simply unfold on its own.
Alas, as above, so below... Tomorrow, back to the cubicle.