The Why we can never explain. The How we respond is the test and perhaps sometimes the only lesson … the only good that can come out of the inexplicable.
In trying to glean glimpses of hope, lessons to weave into my perspective, to grasp a fleck of a reason why this happened, I have found some strength.
“Human life is not unlike life in the Universe. Beautiful things happen. And horrible things happen. And we cannot explain it. It’s just how it is…”
That’s what my mother told to me as we sat quietly together following an accident that changed her life in an instant. I realize in spending the last very difficult weeks with her, watching her painful yet remarkable recovery, working to accept a very different existence ahead of her, has been deeply heartbreaking, but also incredibly inspiring. I have watched this veritable 100 lb., 4-foot-11-inch, 86-year-old, real-life wonder woman step away from what life was and step into what life is.
In the many hours I’ve spent with both of my parents over the past few weeks, I’ve learned a lot. Not only about my family history that spans generations, from Concubines to Prime Ministers, stories of war and separation, surviving on grains of rice, escaping danger in the darkness and reading by the light of just one candle, but I’ve learned details of how my family survived insurmountable challenges, the kind that you only read about in history books.
“Your desires must change to adapt the situation,” my 98-year-old father said. “An old Chinese proverb says, ‘God does not create a road toward a dead end.”
And so, as I move forward with my parents into our next chapter, while I cannot predict what has yet to come, I can do so with the same steadfast conviction that they have walked for nearly a century to get through challenges we could not even imagine. I can lean on the strength of knowing others before me have weathered storms of so much greater magnitude, and begin to understand that oftentimes it is the incomprehensible that informs the human experience and makes us who we are.
As I continue the practice of living in each moment, now I can reflect on my father’s words, “We cannot give in to worry about tomorrow. We must conquer today.”