While Jaycee was sick last week, I had time to do a lot of reading. The Girl in the Green Sweater ended up being a quick read for me. (The movie In Darkness is based upon this book.) The story is written by a woman who survived the Holocaust as a child with her family & other individuals by living in the sewer for 14 months. The conditions were...well you have to read the book. But, the attitude of the writer was what impressed me the most. They experienced such disrespect and hatred for their faith. Her description of her attitude towards their experiences years later left me speechless.
As I read the book, I kept imagining how I would have responded in that situation. I can't imagine it nor do I have any experiences to even remotely compare to it. I thought about things I have went through in the past 7 years with Jaycee: the shock of her diagnoses, surgeries, illnesses, feeling uncertain about her future, battles with professionals regarding her care, etc. These experiences have resulted in me struggling with depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and confusion. I have questioned the purpose of my life and my daughter's life. I have questioned my faith and whether or not my prayers were effective. I have wondered where God was when my child was seriously ill.
So as I read this book and compared her reactions to her situation to my own, I felt so embarrassed. This woman survived unthinkable living conditions and in the end did not become a bitter, angry, or hateful person for what she suffered. I cannot say that about myself.
Looking back on my experiences, it was such a waste of time and energy for me to be so upset about a baby and later a child who has access to great medical and educational assistance in America. I can't believe I allowed myself to get so beat down just because my life and my child's life took an unexpected turn into the world of special needs with pit stops into hospitals. I struggled for years with how to make sense of what was happening to us. Thankfully, I'm in a better place now mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
But, still it makes me wonder how a sour attitude or bad perspective takes root? How do some people go through something totally horrible but maintain a good attitude?
I don't have all the answers to the questions. I can only challenge myself to live with more gratitude and happiness and to face situations with a can-do attitude. To live with the principle that God loves me and any bad in my life doesn't come from him; therefore I won't blame Him for those bad things. To challenge myself to see good around me even when it's so clouded up that it's hard to see.