As the tide washed in, the Dutch Tulip Man faced the ocean:
“Conjoiner rejoinder poisoner concealer revelator. Look at it, rising up and rising down, taking everything with it.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Water,” the Dutchman said. “Well, and time.” – Peter Van Houten, An Imperial Affliction (from John Green’s book, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’)
I loved to watch my mom in the ocean. She had no fear. I still giggle, thinking back to the different expressions my mom would make as her back faced the incoming waves. I was a teenager sitting on our beach blanket with my feet in the sand at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My mom would make silly faces, as she had no idea whether the next wave would pummel her under the water or if she would peacefully glide above it. She seemed to enjoy this unknown thrill. I loved to see this fun-loving side of her. Mom would encourage me to come out into the water, but I enjoyed the safety of the sand and watching her. This was a priceless snapshot of health and family enjoyment at its finest.
I smiled at my mom’s excited eyes getting real big right before a white-capped wave encapsulated her, or her cheesy grin when she would float atop a wave. Now that I look back, the ocean speaks volumes in regards to the flow of life. Whether living with or without a chronic illness like PKD, there are highs and lows and ripples in between. There are times of smooth sailing and others where there is a heavy tide. Many float with their heads above water, wave after wave, as the years pass by. Others surf right through them.
With all the times I have been ‘swept under water’ fighting, enduring and recovering, I sometimes get this sense that I need to make up for lost time. The past couple of weeks have been somewhat calm compared to the past year and a half. When this happens, I can’t help but wonder if I’m in the calm before the next storm phase. I continue to go to physical therapy three times a week to regain the strength that I have lost over the past 18 months. This past weekend, Noah and I had what one might call a ‘common’ weekend. We tackled some house projects that have been on hold due to my health issues and took a short walk with a dear friend. This may not seem special, but a weekend without lying flat on my back due to pain or spending it in a hospital, is miraculous in our world.
“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life brings inevitable challenges. Moments where we are pulled down by worry and stress. Longing for placid times. I know with my health struggles, I will always be bobbing up and down, but my passion and will to live will be my life vest. I believe it is important to not be naïve to the fact that there will be storms, but we must keep paddling. Just like my mom in the ocean. Although we don’t know what the next wave will bring, let’s stand strong, fearless and with a smile on our face.