November 7, 2017
Yesterday it was 2 years since Olivia's serious car accident. I wrote this 18 months ago, a few months after the accident - during the long recovery period. It still holds true for me and seems relevant in today's world. Now I feel ready to share it.
Gratitude Spoke to Me - Don't Rush It
Gratitude. I’ve been thinking a lot about this word and the meaning it has for me. As Olivia graduates from Oberlin College this week I am reflecting on the difficult car accident she was involved in 6 months ago. I can remember the moment I received a call from this girl of mine shown here at her 21st birthday just months before.
When I received a call from the accident scene I could only hear her voice in the distance screaming “ mommy, mommy, mommy”. Released from the hospital that same day with cuts, bruises, strains, and a concussion, she’s been slowly finding what she can and cannot do and how to be gentle with her recovery. Life happens this way. I have preferences for a certain way I would like things to go and the fragility of life keeps showing up.
I noticed in the beginning the rush to gratitude seemed to fast forward me past all of the other feelings present and alive in the moment…Past the fear, grief, love, grace, sadness, tears, mourning and the unbelievable beauty. Maybe for me, these are the threads that weave their way into gratitude. I’m clear now, I don’t want to rush, transcend or bypass the wholeness of an experience. I want to allow and attune to all of life.
I wonder if this word like many others are words from our culture cloaked in a “should”, carrying a “hurry up” or “just be positive” energy. I’m curious if this word is an end-goal, a stopping place, a way of protecting ourselves from feeling all that is - a missing of the fullness of life just as it is.
The grace and beauty that I felt in the midst of the chaos and fear of that day and many days since, came in the form of many perfect strangers that stopped to support and comfort Olivia at the accident scene. These same people spoke to me on the phone when she couldn't and urged me to be careful driving, shared that they were there for her. The police, EMT's, doctors and nurses that cared for her until we could travel the 2 hours away. Grace that others were not seriously hurt. The beauty as friends and family mobilized their love to reach out to her in support.
The beauty of that first hug, the tears of love and yes gratitude. Don’t rush it, it said to me. Don’t rush it.