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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Giving Back

I am finally and blessedly home. It was a great trip and now I am super happy to be home where I feel most at ease and peace. I can restart my routines. I can begin again my life here that has been paused by me and well attended by others in my absence (Thanks mom!)

On my way home, a family with a son like mine, reached out for help. I was tired but I knew how hard it was to make that call. I know how hard it is to access help, I know that there is a moment, a window of time, where you as a parent are willing to set aside all your own denial, fear, anguish, pain and pick up the phone and tell someone else how it is...really.

I could hear the anguish in their voices. The concern. The heartbreak. The panic. It is a hard place when you find yourself as a parent all out of answers, all out of ideas. Where all of your best efforts, love, compassion, anger, pride, heartache fails. Repeatedly. God, I have been there so very many times.

So I took their call. I answered their questions and gave them something that they needed desperately: hope. Hope for a different trajectory, hope for a different version of their family. Hope that somehow, someway this child they love with all that they are could not be leveling himself and their lives. Some prayer that there might be a different path for them all...

I did my best. I gave what I had which right now is a great deal of positivity. For the first time in a very long time, I feel hopeful about my child’s future. I feel like he might actually live past 21...

There is still much heavy lifting for all of us, we are not done. There is a lot of work for all of us to do in order to arrive at some new familial life. But I remain hopeful and positive that we have finally begun to trudge a different road than the spiraling one of our past. It will take grit, determination and heart, but I know we have that in abundance.

When I hung up the phone, I prayed for them. For their hope to manifest into something tangible that is touchable. That is real. That is different than their currentness. I prayed that I could be allowed to continue to give back, to share what I have learned. To provide comfort to those on the path who walk in dark and fear and uncertainty.

I have no idea whether my own child will continue down the lighter path. But I do know that when I place my head on the pillow at night, I know that I have done everything. Everything that I possibly can. Everything that I could think of, that I was afraid to do, that I was uncertain of the outcomes. I did it. I took the action and walked through the panic, dread and fear. I provided my family an example of what courage looks like. But I remain powerless that any one else will decide to stay the course. In the final outcome, it is only me, my life, my attitude and my heart over which I have any power at all...and there are days where my head tells me that even that isn’t so.

But like all the other lessons in my life, knowledge, understanding and joy not reciprocated, not paid forward, is stunted, disfigured by its capture, the holding it tightly to our chests. Giving back is the only way that love can really flourish. And appreciation, deep, abiding appreciation for what we have been given, what we have lived through. It mutates into something else for us through the lenses of another, another soul who suffers alongside you. We walk a similar road but we all suffer uniquely...until we don’t.

So one more time around the sun almost complete and my lesson is the same. The only way to truly get to experience all the gifts, is to always remain willing to give back the entire amount received. There is an endless source, having no limits in the grandeur provided, but I have to always be willing to mine the rapture, committed always to giving it all to the next soul who suffers. Then and only then am I able to reap my own contentment, my own peace of mind. It is in giving it all away that I am released from the bondages that hold me scared and miserable and alone.

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