A little while back I took Lu to her eye doctor appointment.  They wanted to retake some pictures with their big machine to monitor the eye degeneration after the exam.  
I sat in that dark room, the lady trying to adjust Lucy’s chin to rest in the right place with her forehead pressing forward in the dim light of the computer monitor.  

For some reason it hit me strangely how things can be so normal for that technician, chewing her gum, performing a routine test in the blue glow of that screen.  Did she know that this is a big deal?  And a heartbreaking one?  Of course not.  She would have no reason to know, and no reason to care.  This is just a job.  (**post-edit note: I want to clarify that this woman was kind and did her job well.  I’m sure she cared about Lucy’s eyes…that’s why she chose that job: to help kids with their vision.  But it was the end of the day, and she was matter-of-fact, checking things off…I would be too… nothing out of the ordinary, but it just got me to thinking…)  It made me feel as if we were in such parallel universes, her with her gum checking her watch counting the minutes to be done for the day and me with my heart open wide wishing we didn’t have to be there.

In that room.

With a girl who’s vision we’re so desperately trying to hold tight.  And the diminishing light cuts deeper with every picture she cannot see, every seemingly obvious obstacle that is tripped over, every hot, angry tear that rolls down her cheeks because she is different.  And wants so desperately to be the same.

I’m sure that technician has her own battles to fight that I am nonchalantly unaware of.  We all do.  Isn’t it interesting how a calm face can cover, so fully, a raging sea of sorrow hidden in the depths?

There is a heavy thing that recently took place in a neighboring town here in the desert that has hollowed out many hearts and makes me think deeper about secret sorrows.  It has caused more gentleness and love to spread out like ripples in a grieving community.  So much goodness that somehow sometimes waits until tragedy hits to leak out and spread like a salve…soothing, gentle, kind, bending low to pick up the shards that you just wring your hands and wish could have somehow been held together before they were shattered.

I don’t have a silver lining wrap up for this post.  Sometimes life is just dark.  But I think my bottom line is that we all need each other.

I want to slow down and love more.  I realize more and more that that is the answer to almost everything in life.


  1. Thank you for sharing this – it really struck a chord in me I feel that we are all walking around with battles raging around us and most of the time, nobody has a clue. It is a good reminder to be gentle with everyone. To love without expecting anything back. I read this years ago and I imagine a world where we walk around with signs around our necks telling the world our struggles. How differently would we treat people? http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/2151

    1. Stephanie I loved that "signs" post, one I've thought about many times over the years. Thank you for reminding me of it!

      And Matilda and Asbeh…and many others commenting, I'm feeling bad it must have come across that I didn't think the technician cared…or needed to care. She was very nice and I'm sure most people who chose the medical field chose it because they DO care. I was just struck there in that room how it can be easy to be locked in parallel worries.

  2. Thinking of you. You are right-sometimes there is no silver lining but our love and care for each other. Our culture should be more open to talking about that.

  3. As someone who works with special needs kids, please know that we DO CARE, so much more than you know. My heart aches right along with the kids I work with and their parents. We try so hard to act like it's all routine because the last thing we want is to make kids feel uncomfortable or pitied. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so beautifully. Lots of love to you and Lucy!

    1. Thank you for these thoughts, Natalie! I am sure that lady cared, that's why she was helping us, and I loved reading your comment and feeling your love for those kids you work with. I hope you realize how much that means to the children you are working with as well as their parents! xoxo

  4. Your words…"Raging seas of sorrow" Yes! I completely understand how you felt watching the tech with Lucy. When my sister was in ICU fighting for her life and the raging seas of sorrow were completely overwhelming– I heard conversations about trivial every day things (latest diets, cars, TV shows, etc.) I wanted to scream, "WHO CARES! Do you not see that people are dying here? And you're worried about some stupid TV show? This is literally life and death we're dealing with. This is what matters!!!" I get it. I'm also a victim/survivor of violent crime and occasionally I'll have unexpected flashbacks–secret sorrows that nobody knows. It's hard. I love the quote Pres. Eyring gave in a talk (In the Strength of the Lord, April 2004) when he said, “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.”

    1. I love that quote! Isn't it interesting how, when we're in trouble, or in sorrow, it feels like the rest of the world should stop for a moment. Maybe that's just me! Yet each person who is having those trivial conversations, doing routine day-to-day things, has their own secret sorrows that may just not be showing up on the surface at the moment. We do need to be so gentle with one another.

  5. I'm sure there are plenty of times that people are in auto pilot and aren't really aware of the pain and hardship of others. My husband is a doctor and I have seen him weep and mourn for and with his patients. Sometimes he has withdrawn himself into depression for his patients. I am thankful he has heart and cares for them.
    On the flip side, he has a life and a family outside of work that we need him to be alive for and mentally and emotionally engaged in. He does have to be able to separate that to some degree, so he isn't constantly weighed down.
    I'm not in ANY way trying to diminish the feeling of that appointment, I've been in similar situations and it does feel parallel and so lonely.
    I love your writing and the amazing example I'd love and family you are to me!

    1. I think I need to edit what I wrote in this post because I think I made it sound like I wished that woman would have cared more. That I expected something more of her. I didn't. She was doing her job, and was completely kind and sweet to Lucy and me. It just struck me in that office how different everyone's struggles are. Made me want to be better and kinder and more guided to figure out who could use a little extra love. I love that your husband is able to balance what he does so well…there is such a balance to be found in life! I'm sure he is wonderful at what he does.

  6. I’ve been in your shoes, albeit with a child with another illness/disability. So I get what you are saying. Take time to reflect and know that each person goes through their own ebbs and flows in life. When one is in a vulnerable situation, one is sensitive to those around us…and may feel that others do not show emotion as easily. And sometimes, others are plain out detached. Those working with parents need to understand the vulnerability of a parent at that moment. That’s where training comes in. Ps. Above all I wish Lucy good health and strength to you and your family.

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