I laid in bed, texting my older son while my tears soaked my pillow so that a small pool of wetness caressed my skin. How quickly warm tears turn cold. How easily is the heart wrenched into a disturbed state, when it coexists peacefully with a heightened state of alertness, hoping against, yet knowing new sorrows will come.
So it was the night before Thanksgiving, as my son shared a diagnosis of a new bacterial infection in his lungs. It’s an incurable one that needs three antibiotics in combination over 18 months to keep it at bay.
This bacterial infection on top of Cystic Fibrosis, asthma, and immune deficiency syndrome did not scare me. I’m not sure much scares me anymore. It just made me sad. Sad that my son has had to suffer in all the ways he’s been pained in his 23 years on this earth. Sad that my younger son has followed the same path for his 19 years. Sad that at the stage of their lives, as they seek freedom and belonging, they’ve both found entrapment in a community of the chronically ill. Sad that they both struggle with identity and hope when fate has seemingly deemed their options to be slim.
I felt sad too about my growing inadequacy to lighten my sons’ burdens over the same period of time. Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.
But as my tears coursed down to the crevasse where my face and pillow met, the sound of water flowing outside gave me comfort. Temperatures were dropping to 69 degrees, so my windows were open to let the fresh air and the sounds of fountain and lake pour in.
Lately, I’ve been halting a lot more in front of the glass panes to behold nature just beyond my windows and doors. And I’ve found myself contemplating my reasons for loving water, flowing water, and especially the sound of water. Last night, I figured it out. The reasons are three-fold.
First, as water runs, it sheds the tears that I persistently carry within. I smile easily, and tell the funniest-made-up-on-the-spot-stories — or so my students, co-workers, and bosses say. But beneath my smiles and laughter-inducing storytelling, my tears are ever present. Now, this does not mean I am perpetually sad. It only means that there is an ache I carry for my sons. It also means that I choose to live to the fullest, in acceptance of what has been given to me, and despite the pain that I know is my family’s cross to bear.
Secondly, as water pours or flows, it reminds me of life and the full circle of living, comforting me and whispering to me that all will be well. Water has an energy and a vibration that can move through our physical beings and thoughts and connect us with living things beyond ourselves. We don’t consciously realize the resonance water has with our spirits. We just know that it makes us feel better and somehow restores a sense of harmony.
This harmony makes sense. The earth is approximately 70 percent water. So is the human body. Maintaining this balance is critical to both. Water makes our brain, and other organs function, our blood flow, and helps our muscles do their work. If we lose four percent of our body weight in water, our blood thickens, skin shrivels, and blood pressure drops, making us likely to faint. If we lose ten percent, liver or kidney failure will likely kill us. Water loves us deeply, and we cannot exist without its nourishing love.
Thirdly, water responds to whatever it experiences and feels. It changes with stimuli and eventually returns to its form. Water’s surface, one disrupted, ripples and flows, only to eventually become still again, as though symbolizing the journey through change to acceptance and peace. Water heats up and evaporates, only to form clouds and once again fall as rain. Water freezes and holds its form as ice, only to melt and flow again.
Have you ever just listened to the sound of water? Still water? Running water? A river? The waves of the ocean? The thunderous roar of a waterfall? Rain falling to the earth? The water flowing from the faucet?
I’m sure the answer is yes.
Have you ever just closed your eyes and listened? Allowed yourself to be transported to a space between the water molecules themselves?
Earlier this year, I had hurricane-proof windows and doors installed at home. What I did not digest before installation was how hurricane proofing my home would erase the serene and comforting sounds of the water in viewing distance outside.
The installation was designed to mitigate our impact from hurricanes, and once completed, it definitely reduced my annual home insurance bill. But while the wind and rain mitigation efforts improved our protections inside, it also robbed me of the therapy ever-present in the sound of water outside.
But last night, it was fitting that lousy news came riding on the sounds of flowing water infiltrating the rooms of my home, consuming the ears of my heart, feeding my love, and strengthening my frame.
If you enjoyed this, you might also like:
Risk Is The Heartbeat Of Life: Having Less And Gaining So Much More
She said, “You need a vacation. A little get away from things…”
The Ecstasy of Here
Tired after its long day, the sun, in the past few moments, has been slowly bringing its head to its pillow. And with…