I recently experienced what I think was the most horrifying minute of my life. Leolani’s been dealing with some mucous in her nose which I’ve been dutifully clearing out whenever it accumulates. The other night I decided to feed her a little bit before her clearing out her nose so she’d be more calm. Her breathing seemed good enough to eat, but I was wrong. A few minutes into her feed her nose clogged up completely. She then she started choking on her milk which happens often, but this time she had no clear air passageway, and I watched in horror as her little body struggled. I ran to Keola, told him she wasn’t breathing and he flew out of bed to her side. I unswaddled her, and focused on unplugging her nose with the bulb syringe and to our relief she quickly regained her breath.
In that minute I came face to face with the prospect of losing her, and I became frantic, desperate. In the minutes afterward I was clearly shaken.
This experience gave me some perpsective. There is NOTHING in this house, that if I lost would devastate me the way losing one of my family would. Maybe I’d be a little sad if I lost my computer, but I can always buy another one. My wedding ring has sentimental value, but it’s only a symbol of my commitment to my husband – it is NOT my marriage. Photos? A lot are stored in the cloud, but even if I didn’t have them in the cloud, photography is a recent invention and people got along without it just fine. A picture of someone you love can’t make up for a face to face relationship. Books, art, movies? They mean very little in the hierachy of things in my life.
I can walk away from every physical object in my life with hardly a backward glance, but my family is priceles and irreplaceable. I suspect the same is true for you if you think about it, yet how often do we walk away from them in favor of some other gadget in our home. Do we get angry with our kids for breaking or staining something because it cost money? Do we treat them as if that ____________ is more important? I know I do.
After everything calmed down I lay in bed and re-resolved to walk away now from the things that aren’t adding to my life, so I can be more fully present for the people in it, and to spend more time walking toward them, and caring for and about them more than the stuff I own. The thought of losing my family is too much to bear, yet I lose them a little in the moments I don’t choose them. Let us all make better choices.
Have you ever had an experience that brought immediate clarity as to what your priorities should be?