True Happiness Is To Enjoy The Present
Just the other day, I finished listening to the CD book "Knowing Jesse" by Marianne Leone Cooper (the wife of actor Chris Cooper). It is an incredible story about their son Jesse. Jesse suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at birth that resulted in Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy. Sadly, he died from SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy) at the age of 17. The ending was beautiful and inspiring and I was sad to have it come to an end. And then, as though someone knew I was still in need of inspiration, a great story came on NPR.
It was about two men, Ben Harris and Scott Haren, both who suffer from ALS, the degenerative disease also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. These two men have been trying different experimental medications to treat themselves. They both realize they are coming close to the ends of their lives, but they have incredible perspectives. Although these experiments may not have completely worked, Harris does not look at them as failures because he is able to share the information with other ALS patients and they may one day be able to benefit from what he learned. Haren tries not to focus on the things that he can't do but the things he can do.
The story talked about Stoic Philosophy, the idea that we need to know what we can control and what we can't. During difficult times in our lives, it is about how we choose to react to those events. Even though we can't control our fate, we can control how we react to it.
"True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence on the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be. Without wishing for what he has not." - Seneca
Click here for more information about the book "Knowing Jesse".
Click here to listen to The Story of DIY Medicine and ALS.
Alison, thank you so much for sharing this with us. Life's focus is what it's all about. I am so impressed with your focus on your girls and on your whole family--I think you have discovered contentment in the midst of stillness and also in the chaos. hugs,