“The best journeys answer the question that in the beginning you didn't even think to ask” - Jeff Johnson, "180º"
After we learned of my third child's brain injury, I had nothing but questions to ask of God and anyone else who would listen. I quickly created my own answers instead of waiting patiently for the answers to 'appear.' I created a truth that became 'my version' of reality.
I told everyone I could about how a doctor caused the brain injury to my daughter. I quietly told myself that I wanted him to rot in hell because of what he did to my family.
Anger consumed me. I went to bed angry. I woke up angry. I wrote angry. It was the easiest way to handle the reality of having two of my three children with special needs.
Therapy helped. It helped me understand that I was going through post-traumatic stress disorder. It helped me understand the importance of mindfulness. It helped me learn to meditate.
I continued to write, albeit with less anger, but still from a dark, bitter-cold place. The writing became a distraction from grieving. It became a call for help. I wanted people to feel sorry for me and my family.
But then I met someone. It wasn't a priest, preacher or a rabbi. It wasn't a therapist. It wasn't another parent of an individual with special needs. It was a professional writer who taught me that my writing sucked, without ever telling me that directly.
As I recalled our conversation over coffee, I can now say it was the point in my life when I decided that instead of stepping off the cliff in front of me, I turned 180 degrees, and took one step forward.
“Everyone has problems,” he said.
“But not my kind of problems,” I said.
“Maybe not exactly, but everyone has problems. Everyone is suffering in some way. Eventually, they will tire of reading about yours.”
“Think about those moments with your children, with your wife, with your friends and family and capture those, write your heart out about those. What would happen then?”
After this conversation, I changed, one step at a time. I changed my writing, and have continued to do so. I'm happier as a result.
Sure, I've done other things, including meditation, reading, working daily on me, and enjoying every single moment with my family. However, I'm capturing the most positive moments in time that I can. These are the ones that are most important.
While there are times and places for sadness, to let it run its course, I want to remember and live in the moment life when life is its best – and eventually my life starting being its best, all of the time.
This parenting journey has taken me to a far off place I didn't know existed. As important as the questions I'm asking are the places that I'm finding the answers.
I've found that the answers are not 'out there' in some obscure place but rather 'right here' inside, where they were there all along.
Tim Gort is a professional writer who writes about his personal challenges and triumphs of being a special needs father at the family’s bog: http://thegortfamily.blogspot.com