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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: The mor­ning when eve­ryt­hing stop­ped

Vieraskieliset / In-english
11.6.2019 6.45

About two ye­ars ago, on an or­di­na­ry Thurs­day mor­ning, our whole life see­med to turn around. My fat­her had slip­ped and fal­len on the yard.

His con­di­ti­on was cri­ti­cal. We were in for a long pe­ri­od of un­cer­tain­ty and wai­ting. In my dist­ress I pra­yed to the He­a­ven­ly Fat­her: ”Ple­a­se, do not let my fat­her die! I do not want to part from him yet!” The next day we were hap­py to hear that he had come out of coma. The doc­tors did not know which parts of his brain had been in­ju­red, but the most im­por­tant thing for me at that time was to know that my dear fat­her was ali­ve.

Late on Fri­day eve­ning I got on a train with a fe­ve­rish baby. I could not wait to see my fat­her. The baby kept me awa­ke and I got hard­ly any sleep. I did not know in what con­di­ti­on I would find my fat­her the next mor­ning, but I felt se­cu­re: wha­te­ver might hap­pen would be known by the He­a­ven­ly Fat­her. He had al­lo­wed our mot­her to find fat­her be­fo­re she had gone out on her er­rands.

When I ope­ned the door of the hos­pi­tal room, I al­most did not re­cog­ni­ze him. I stood still. But when he re­pe­a­ted my words: ”Vir­pi from Hä­meen­lin­na”, my he­art fil­led with great joy: he knew who I was. Stan­ding by his bed­si­de I felt very strong­ly that not­hing in life is self-evi­dent. Life is a gift, eve­ryt­hing is a gift. The doc­tor told me and my mot­her that fat­her had been very close to lo­sing his abi­li­ty to speak. Alt­hough many things were still unk­nown and un­cer­tain, that vi­sit mar­ked the be­gin­ning of a pe­ri­od of great joy and gra­ti­tu­de in our fa­mi­ly. In the eve­ning all my sib­lings gat­he­red with our mot­her in our home. We felt a strong fa­mi­ly bond and, most of all, deep gra­ti­tu­de.

Du­ring the fol­lo­wing weeks of re­co­ve­ry we sha­red hap­py pic­tu­res and vi­de­os of our fat­her ta­king his first steps or en­jo­ying the home-made goo­dies so­me­o­ne had gi­ven him. So­me­o­ne had even brought him ham­bur­gers, and it was won­der­ful to see him en­joy them. We could not have ca­red less about he­alt­hy food, the main thing was that he was ab­le to eat. Loo­king back to those ear­ly ti­mes, I think we were sup­por­ted and car­ried by our gra­ti­tu­de. La­ter we had to ac­cept the re­a­li­ty of brain da­ma­ge, but I can still re­mem­ber the ini­ti­al re­a­li­za­ti­on that not­hing should be ta­ken for gran­ted and all good things are a gift.

My fat­her’s ac­ci­dent af­fec­ted my own life in many ways. We had ar­ran­ged child care to give my hus­band and I an op­por­tu­ni­ty for a week­ly ”date”. We on­ce went jog­ging by the lake, dis­cus­sing what we ho­ped for in life, where we would like to live, and what things were im­por­tant to us. Life sud­den­ly see­med like a won­der­ful gift. Around that time I al­so came ac­ross in­for­ma­ti­on about a trai­ning cour­se for so­lu­ti­on-fo­cu­sed brief the­ra­py. I had ne­ver thought about en­rol­ling in a study prog­ram, but on those pa­ges I found a way of thin­king that was al­re­a­dy fa­mi­li­ar to me. From a ra­ti­o­nal point of view, it did not seem a good idea to take on ext­ra ob­li­ga­ti­ons when I al­re­a­dy had a busy life, but with the prac­ti­cal ar­ran­ge­ments done, it see­med very ea­sy to sign up for part-time stu­dies. Now that I am close to comp­le­ting my two-ye­ar cur­ri­cu­lum, I must ad­mit that the ext­ra work has gi­ven me a lot of ext­ra joy.

My fat­her’s ac­ci­dent broke a se­cu­ri­ty bub­b­le in my life: I be­ca­me awa­re that anyt­hing can hap­pen to any­bo­dy. Yet that did not make me fe­ar­ful of life. At that time, and al­so be­cau­se I had se­ve­ral child­ren, I un­ders­tood how im­por­tant it is to be ab­le to calm down in the face of ad­ver­si­ty: ”Eve­ryt­hing will be all right, the He­a­ven­ly fat­her will take care of us, don’t wor­ry.” If we pa­nic in a dif­fi­cult si­tu­a­ti­on, things will turn even wor­se. At a time of dist­ress even those not used to pra­ying will pray. It is good to know that “all things are in God’s hands”, though we ea­si­ly ask: Why, then, does He al­low our dif­fi­cul­ties to con­ti­nue? When fa­ced by such qu­es­ti­ons, we of­ten re­main wit­hout ans­wers.

Alt­hough I found my faith com­for­ting at the time of my fat­her’s ac­ci­dent, the si­tu­a­ti­on can be dif­fe­rent for ot­her pe­op­le. When a per­son ex­pe­rien­ces a ca­tast­rop­he in life, ot­her pe­op­le’s words may seem very sig­ni­fi­cant, but not al­wa­ys in a good way. Des­pi­te the spe­a­ker’s good in­ten­ti­ons, en­cou­ra­ge­ment to think po­si­ti­ve­ly about the si­tu­a­ti­on or an ex­ces­si­ve­ly spi­ri­tu­al in­terp­re­ta­ti­on of what hap­pe­ned may wound. Grief and shock need to be pro­ces­sed over time, and dif­fe­rent pe­op­le need dif­fe­rent lengths of time for that pro­cess.

I have re­a­li­zed that I should ac­tu­al­ly think more of­ten about de­ath or se­ri­ous il­l­ness, both my own and my dear ones’. I should think about my own de­ath from the view­point of faith, and the de­ath of ot­her pe­op­le from the view­point of gra­ti­tu­de. ”I still have pa­rents that I can call or vi­sit.” Af­ter my fat­her’s ac­ci­dent I was deep­ly touc­hed when I first saw the word ”fat­her” blin­king on the screen of my phone. We so ea­si­ly take our dear ones for gran­ted. Awa­re­ness of the fra­gi­li­ty of life af­fects our at­ti­tu­des to­ward ot­hers. I re­mem­ber re­a­ding an ar­tic­le about a dep­res­sed fat­her who was not ab­le to run the dai­ly fa­mi­ly life. On­ce a month he felt strong enough to go the pla­yg­round with his child­ren. That ar­tic­le re­al­ly made me pau­se. I had so ea­si­ly ac­cep­ted that my hus­band ma­kes a full cont­ri­bu­ti­on to our fa­mi­ly life. Ins­te­ad of ma­king as­sump­ti­ons and de­mands, I would like to lis­ten to him more sen­si­ti­ve­ly and ask him about his re­sour­ces. We can be­gin to le­arn gra­ti­tu­de by ac­cep­ting that not­hing in life is an au­to­ma­tic frin­ge be­ne­fit.

My stu­dies inc­lu­ded one par­ti­cu­lar­ly ef­fec­ti­ve as­sign­ment: Write a com­me­mo­ra­ti­ve speech for yo­ur­self. What kind of a me­mo­ry would I like to le­a­ve if I were to die now? “She was a hard-wor­king per­son who of­ten ex­haus­ted her­self with end­less hou­se­hold cho­res. When she was ti­red, she cre­a­ted a dep­res­si­ve at­mosp­he­re in her home, and she sel­dom had time to do things with her child­ren.” Or al­ter­na­ti­ve­ly: ”She le­arnt to take care of her­self, and the hou­se­hold work was of­ten done to­get­her in a friend­ly and po­si­ti­ve at­mosp­he­re. She did many fun things with her child­ren.” These two al­ter­na­ti­ves so­me­ti­mes come to my mind on a Sa­tur­day mor­ning when there are more things to do than I care to think. Some good choi­ces, ho­we­ver, can make a sig­ni­fi­cant im­pact on how the day turns out.

I have writ­ten here about so­mew­hat dar­ker to­pics, but I would like to close on a hap­pier note by tel­ling you about so­met­hing that very much cheers my mind: the hard, crus­ted snow that we of­ten have in the ear­ly spring, when the sun warms and sof­tens the sur­fa­ce of the snow in the da­y­ti­me and the col­der nights cau­se it to de­ve­lop a crust hard enough to walk on. I have been es­pe­ci­al­ly hap­py about this for two re­a­sons: our baby is old enough to be put in a small sled, and our pup­py can run around free­ly on the fields. And I can eit­her ski or walk. I like skiing, but I would not like to drive ac­ross the town to get on a main­tai­ned track. This win­ter there have been no tracks on the ne­ar­by lake, but the hard snow on the fields has been like a high­way. The best thing is that I can take the lit­t­le ones out there the first thing in the mor­ning. I ski or walk and pull the baby in a sled. One Sun­day mor­ning the baby woke up bright and ear­ly at se­ven. Af­ter bre­ak­fast, while part of the fa­mi­ly were still as­leep, I took the baby and the pup­py on the fields. In the bright suns­hi­ne I saw a group of be­au­ti­ful deer, and to­get­her with the dog I lis­te­ned to the har­mo­ni­ous cho­rus of birds. At some point the baby’s head be­gan to nod, but I still did not want to go home right away and le­a­ve that won­der­ful sun­ny mor­ning.

Text: Vir­pi Myl­ly­nie­mi

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal Fin­nish blog post here.


Kyl­vä­kää oi­keu­den­mu­kai­suut­ta, kor­jat­kaa us­kol­li­suut­ta! Rai­vat­kaa it­sel­len­ne uu­dis­pel­to! Nyt on ai­ka et­siä mi­nua, Her­raa, minä tu­len var­mas­ti ja an­nan teil­le siu­nauk­sen sa­teen. Hoos. 10:12

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