Make a Wish, makes a difference

I am truly blessed.  Let me just stand on a soap box for a minute…and cry…

There are families that struggle through no fault of their own…. families where one parent has to stay at home from work to take care of their sick or bed ridden child because the child has a debilitating disease such as cancer or spinal muscular atrophy (degeneration of motor cells in the spinal cord and brain).  They live paycheck to paycheck to support their terminally ill child.  They put all their extra money into buying motorized beds, ramps for their childs wheelchairs, and expensive “alternatives” to the little that their insurance actually covers (it’s amazing how little).  They spend days/nights, months/years searching for answers and cures for their children.  They cling to the hope that their child will return to the vibrant playful ball of energy they once were.  They somehow make ends meet and get through the days, always keeping hope alive. Faith is the only thing that keeps them from self pity…it’s amazing.

And when you visit their house, you smell a little of whatever that hospital smell is, you sit in their living room, and they bring the child into the room…. you feel a knot in your stomach, you feel ashamed, saddened, almost embarrassed to be there.  It humbles you.  Who are you?  Sitting there with your fancy purse, your overpriced jeans, your gas guzzling car sitting out front?  Didn’t you just get annoyed at the gym because all the new years resolution people were taking up all the treadmills and you had to wait an extra 5 minutes? …and here you are sitting in the tiny apartment living room of a family who’s had the unthinkable happen, their child diagnosed with a life threatening illness, witnessing the slow and painful deterioration of their child into sometimes a near vegetative state.  But what if some miracle cure was discovered in a year or two or three, what would you do?  You’d hold on to hope too.  Just like they do…

I don’t know how they do it.  How do they even get out of bed everyday or concentrate on work while they’re at work.  The entire family is consumed by the illness.  While I’m complaining about waiting at the gym, these families would feel lucky to even have the time or energy to get to the gym or to even afford it.  They don’t give a damn what brand of clothes they’re wearing or that they bought their purse at K-mart instead of Coach.  They don’t go to Starbucks for their morning coffee, they’d rather spend $4 a day sending letters to research hospitals.  Their whole life and focus is dedicated to their childs recovery.  And they would trade everything for it.

It makes me want to cry.  It takes me sitting on the couch, two feet away from these ill children and their families, to think twice about whats really important in life.  We are so spoiled.  And I know I’m not the first to say it but it’s completely true, we really do take alot of things in life for granted.

I am truly humbled every month when I do these family wish interviews for Make-A-Wish.  It really has changed my life.  I no longer find such importance in shallow things: What really matters is life/limb/health and family/friends.  Just being able to live life everyday is a true blessing.

Use your life for something other than yourself….and more than just twice a year or around the holidays.  Granted, we can’t all run out and quit our day jobs but wouldn’t it be nice if we could

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