Friday, August 17, 2007

When the sky threatens to fall, you dig deep

I read two stories today from people half way around the globe from each other, but each one resonated for the same reasons. They are gut-wrenching stories of adversity that befalls ordinary people and, more importantly, they are stories of ordinary people digging deep within themselves to find the emotional wherewithal to surmount the adversity.

There is this story of Sadhika, a four year-old, who was diagnosed with cancer a year ago (via Uma).
Both Rajni and I were numb. We went back home and shut ourselves inside for three days. During the second counselling session at aiims we were told that the whole department was with us. The estimated cost for the three-year course of treatment was Rs 7.5 lakh. We were cautioned that there could be a relapse after five or six years.

One night soon afterwards, my wife and I sat together and cried out loud. How could God do this to us? Then Rajni reassured me. She said we had to try and do our best to save Sadhika. We decided we would strive together. It was a cathartic moment. We sensed God’s will behind it all. Maybe it was part of God’s master plan for us.

We then informed our friends and family. We did not want to hide anything from anyone, in part because we also saw this as an opportunity to generate awareness about blood cancer. We told Pulkit that his little sister had a blood infection and we would all have to work hard to help her become well again. The reactions from those we knew were mixed. Some supported us; others told their children to stop playing with Sadhika.

But we were undeterred. I work for a private firm, and they supported me and granted me leave whenever I needed it. Rajni’s family, and my sisters and their families supported us and were always ready to donate blood.
Then there is Jana Lee's story. Frail and sick, she finds solace in simple things - planting some seeds and watching them take root and come alive.
Everything is so simple when you've been sick. To be outside wearing the sun as a shawl when your heart has been so cold for so long is a gift. To think of the ground as a womb and no longer as a grave is a relief. Kneeling to pull weeds and sift the soil becomes each day an excuse to pray. Night crawlers glisten in my fingers fiery red and as valuable as rubies, eyeless and innocent of their importance to prepare the earth for the growing of plants. I watch robins pulling them from deep, secret places beyond the garden's edge, sensing the movements of the worms underground with their feet. I knead dirt for hours like a baker working dough.
In adversity, there is hope.

Please do take time to read both the stories.

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