I looked at their smiling faces shining out from the screen of my mobile phone. I was drawn to click on the image, and soon found myself in awe of this couple’s inspiring faith. I didn’t realize it then but Jayjay and Feliz Lucas, the parents of Courageous Caitie, would be great “reminders” to choose joy in my own journey as a parent.
You see, the day I first read of Caitie and her family’s story, I was fighting feelings of self-pity, guilt and sadness. It was a day after we had brought our fourth child home from the hospital after staying almost a week in the intermediate care unit. He had some health issues at birth, and I was again asking God why He didn’t answer our family’s prayers for a “normal” birth and a 100 percent healthy baby.
I was bone tired, feeling not a bit depressed, and just had so many questions. My family and I had been hoping and praying that our son’s birth would be completely different from those of his siblings, each of whom had to stay in the hospital after birth for different health issues as well.
But it wasn’t. In fact, our baby is still not 100 percent “OK,", as I write this. But he is much better now, thanks to the prayers and support of everyone around us, and the care of the health professionals who attended to him. And we continue to claim in faith that he is well on the way to being in the pink of health.
If you had tried to talk to me about him over a month ago though, you might have found me on the verge of tears and still feeling sad and hopeless over his condition. Yes, I felt that way, despite knowing that our son did not–and still does not–have any condition that could be considered “fatal” or serious.
I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity and forgot to see that, despite everything that was happening, my husband and I were–and still are– very blessed, especially compared to thousands, or even millions, of other parents out there.
Parents who have had to bury their babies without getting the chance to even hold them alive in their arms.
Parents who have to care for sick children, not just for weeks or months like we did, but for an entire lifetime.
Parents who don’t even have the means to provide the proper care for their children, and live in dire poverty.
Parents who have to shield their children from the devastation of war and terrorism every single day.
Parents who have lost their children in tragic circumstances like shooting sprees and accidents.
Parents who are incapable of caring for their ill children, because they themselves are suffering from one condition or another.
I realized that I should stop focusing on “me, me, me” and my emotions, and instead look beyond myself.
I drew inspiration from families like the Lucases, the Rivas, and the Revillas, who have their own stories to tell, their own struggles, and, more importantly, their own journeys which display the resiliency of the human spirit and the power of faith.
Yes, caring for a sick baby is challenging.
Going through trials can be tiring.
Bearing with the burdens of life can be overwhelming.
But we can choose to be joyful despite it all.
We can choose to see the “silver linings” in the “clouds” that overshadow our lives.
We can choose to count our blessings, more than our burdens.
We can choose to believe that there is a purpose behind our pain.
We can choose to allow ourselves to grieve, but promise ourselves to rejoice afterward.
We can choose to let others lift us up when we feel we have hit rock-bottom.
We can choose to have more faith – stronger faith that is greater than our darkest fears.
It might not be easy to do so–to choose joy. To choose peace. To choose faith.
But it is definitely not impossible. And it’s a choice I will try to make every single day.