Thursday, May 04, 2006

Knowing what’s important

This is not really a blog with a posed question, and it’s not about writing. I just wanted to share something with you. You can comment if you like—I hope you will.

A few weeks ago I muttered and whined to myself because I seemed to be hitting every light red on a long street I used to get home. Fate seemed to be keeping me trapped in the car when I was tired and my back ached to the point of distraction. Hitting all the lights green, the trip would have taken twenty minutes. I’d already been twenty minutes and I was only half way home, where I could walk out a Charlie horse, take off my shoes and put up my feet until an Aleve took off the pain’s edge.

Later that night, I complained to Jack about all the red lights and he casually commented that, yeah, that’s happened to him a lot, too.

What had bothered me so much rolled right off his back, making me admit what I knew all along: I’d made more of the situation than I should have It was just a trip home that took a bit longer than usual. Nothing bad happened, I was simply inconvenienced. Wow.

Jack excuses these little bumps in my equilibrium because he knows that once in a while little things get to people, and I’m only human. (And all this time I thought he thought I was a goddess. Funny the things one learns…)

Anyway, sometimes it’s a good thing to be reminded that everyday life is what it is. Most of the time, life rates somewhere between good and wonderful. Once in awhile, it sucks big time—hopefully not very often or for very long. For more than a year I’ve had pretty bad back trouble. For me it’s been hell (for Jack, too, putting up with me. Sorry, honey!). But it’s not the end of the world. My back problem can be controlled for the most part. Lots of bad things happen that are out of our control.

Last week an event happened that might seem bad and uncontrollable. Yet, it’s also awesome and inspirational. One of Jack’s coworkers gave birth to a baby boy, very prematurely. Meet Benjamin. He was born at 1 lb 10 oz and struggles through every move, for every breath.

Right now, all his parents care about is life and living. All they’re hoping is that Benjamin someday can experience the inconvenience of being stopped by a few red lights. That he gets to swat at mosquitoes and cry over a stubbed toe. That years from now he can fall in love, fall out of love, and fall in again.

That he can live.

The little guy is a fighter it seems, and that’s for the good. He’s also getting the best care St. Louis has to give.

Look, intellectually I know what to worry about and what to let go. But seeing a picture of Benjamin, hearing about his daily effort just to stay here among us, sure puts everything in perspective in a way that’s anything but intellectual.

Like him, the perspective is all heart. All love.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe this is what writing’s all about.

By the way, Benjamin’s family says all prayers are welcome! So, if you’re inclined, your positive energy will be much appreciated.


Blogger Jennifer Y. said...

I will definitely be praying for Benjamin and his family. My twin nephews were preemies each weighing just barely 3lbs when they were born. They were fighters though despite the problems they faced. While they were in the NICU, I saw so many other tiny, tiny babies fighting to live. My nephews and the other babies inspired me and definitely put things into perspective. The twins will be 3 next month and are both healthy. I have never seen more active children.

Thanks to you and Benjamin for once again putting things into perspective for me and reminding me of what's important!

1:01 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Hi Jennifer. It really does kind of knock you back on your heels, doesn't it? Ben's aunt has set up a website so family and friend scan keep up each day with his progress. Yesterday wasn't such a good day, but he's still moving forward, even with each little step back. Preemie care is fantastic now, isn't it?

Congrats to your nephews!!! We have a good friend in Virginia whose daughter was born weighing just over a pound and she's healthy and strong and about to graduate from college!

Thanks so much for posting. And for your prayers for Ben--lots of power in prayer!


8:59 AM  
Blogger LISA WILLIAMS said...

My prayers are with baby Benjamin!

9:05 AM  
Blogger LSB Author, Darragha Foster said...

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo! And many!

I want that little guy to thrive!


9:05 AM  
Anonymous emma said...

Seeing the picture of baby Benjamin was so touching........seeing some-one so small fighting for life.........babies are remarkable little people and survive against the i'm praying and hoping that when you send out your newsletter you will have good news for us........

9:26 AM  
Blogger Vanessa Hart said...

Life is so fragile. Last week our mailman, who'd been a fixture in our little rural community for the past 15 years, was killed in an accident while working his farm last Saturday.

We're shocked and feel his absence. But while he delivered our mail, we often chatted with him, brought him souvenirs from our travels, baked goodies for him at Christmas ... I'm so thankful we took the time to know him. How much sadder his death would've been if nobody noticed.

My prayers are for baby Benjamin, Dee--thank you for taking the time to let us know him--and all the tiny babies fighting to live that Jennifer mentioned. Life IS fragile.


9:49 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

We'll be sending prayers their way! Some times we get so caught up in the details of life that we forget to enjoy life. I catch myself doing it all the time... Then something happens to remind us... it's not all about the details or the moments, it is about love...

9:54 AM  
Blogger Bonnie Dee said...

Thanks. I needed to hear that. I've been obsessing about my own concerns a lot lately instead of relaxing and letting things flow or, god forbid, thinking of others needs first!
Perspective, perspective, perspective!
I, too, will send up a prayer for preemie Benjamin.

10:14 AM  
Blogger LISA WILLIAMS said...

As the saying goes "don't sweat the small stuff" only the important things are worth dwelling on. Prayers for the family and maybe mention in your Newsletter an update.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Deborah Chan said...

This situation certainly opens your eyes to the really important things in life. My prayers are with them and I read your newsletter.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:02 AM  
Blogger Marian said...

Already praying for little Benjamin & his family. Such a heart wrenching story. Thanks for reminding me that the good days outnumber the bad.


11:07 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Definitely let us know how it goes in your newsletter!

11:08 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Hi Dee....I am really hoping that the little guy makes it. Both of my children were born under 3 pounds. My son was 2 months premature and I carried my daughter for 11 months! They stayed in an incubator for 3 weeks. I haven't seen my shiny headed neighbor for a while, but he did call me a minute ago to tell me about your blog (kind of shocking since he is such a competive old codger!) I am looking forward to your newsletter next week. Have a great day!

11:12 AM  
Blogger Shuck Ying said...

I read your newsletter which reminded my to come here. This is heart breaking. My prayers are with the family and Benjamin.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Many heartfelt thanks to my newsletter readers for their good thoughts and prayers.

Linda, I've been thinking about you and hoping things are going well, and bless that Bald God for calling you!


11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thoughts being sent.

Little lamb lost

11:34 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Shoot! I should have said, "Thanks to friends--to ALL of you for extra prayers.

Thanks Nessie for checking up on me!

Hi, Little Lamb!

I'm telling Ben's mom she has lots of wonderful people she doesn't know pulling for her and baby!


11:42 AM  
Blogger snowflake said...

Dee, just got your newsletter. Your blog came at an opportune time since I've been having a really cruddy time lately and pondering on the exact same things. It's wonderful that your dh is so supportive and understanding when you're having your moments. I'll definitely keep Benjamin in my thoughts. I think he and his family will be stronger and better because of what they go through now.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Cherie said...

Poor little Benjamin. My prayers will be with him and his family. Today is the National Day of Prayer so it is the perfect day for all of us to pray. I can also especially sympathize since I am in the very beginning of the second trimester of my pregnancy. Please mention in your newsletter next week how he is doing. Poor you too Dee. I also suffer from chronic back pain and being pregnant is not making it any easier. I can sympathize with your situation as well.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Tara W said...

I will definitely keep little Benjamin in my prayers. I think prayers and positive energy can make all the difference.


11:58 AM  
Blogger Bobby Jo said...

I can empathize about Benjamin ... I have had three of my grandchildren born premature and way 1 lb or less .. it makes you relise all over again how easy it is to lose something precious. Also wanted to let you know that I enjoy your newsletter (when it comes out that is :o) )

11:58 AM  
Anonymous shellya said...

lol, I think it's only human nature that we get caught up in ourselves and forget the big picture sometimes. Little Benjamin will be in my prayers as well as prayers for your back problem.

Looking forward to the newsletter and please keep us updated on Benjamin.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Lily Ashford said...

I really needed to read this, today. I've been panicking about my jobless situation for a while now, and I guess it really is all about perspective.

I understand Benjamin's struggle. I was born at 1 lb, 9 oz. and fit into the palm of my father's hand when I was born. I think at this point, as you said, my parents are just thrilled that I'm a) alive and b) mentally able to worry about being unemployed. Just having the opportunity is a miracle.

Here's to the little guy.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Jodi said...

Good thoughts and healing prayers are headed for Benjamin and his family.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Gosh, your stories are touching me like Benjamin's does! I do think sometimes the right word or outreach comes when we expect it least and need it most. I just drove a short distance a few minutes ago and the first song on the radio was "Angels Among Us" by Alabama. Coincidence? I think not!

Jennybrat, I do have a wonderful husband!!! I’ve known him for about 42 years and I think I’ve only seen him really, truly mad 3 times. And he’s so optimistic at times I just want to slap him, lol. But we seem to be a pretty good balance for each other since I’m often grumpy. 

Cherie, thanks for your good thoughts about my back, and I send them back to you. I can’t imagine having a bad back and being pregnant. You just got added to my prayer list for a good pregnancy and healthy, strong baby!

Thanks, Tara! I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer.

I’m hanging my head, Bobby Jo. I was supposed to have the newsletter finished and out by the end of last weekend. I’m glad you enjoy it (when it comes out ), and I’ll try to do better.

Shellya, I’m sorry to say, I probably won’t stop whining…

Lily, your parents know exactly what Benjamin’s parents are going through! It takes fighters, and you must be one, so I know your job situation will clear up soon. I hope so!!

You all are wonderful!


1:36 PM  
Anonymous Diane R. said...

Talk about perspective... I really needed that today. My 5 1/2 year old daughter has just developed acute asthma this week in addition to numerous allergies - which include a fatal allergy to peanuts and treenuts. Try to keep a child in kindgergarten safe from peanut butter - it is a challenge! I have been so worried about her health lately it has really put a strain on things. But then I see little Benjamin and I realise how much worse things could be.

My prayers are with the little guy and his family - please give us an update in your newsletter.

Fight on, Benjamin!!!


1:36 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Thanks, Jodi!!


1:36 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Diane, I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter!! I know how worried you must be--just the asthma alone is enough to deal with, but you're so right about the allergies and peanuts. And a 5-year old doesn't really understand. Hopefully her teacher is aware enough to keep a good eye on the situation!

Thinking of you--


1:40 PM  
Blogger Jean P. said...

I, too, will definitely put Benjamin and his parents in my prayers. I don't know if it is because of the internet or we are all receiving a wakeup call, but there seems to be more life affecting problems lately. I think God is saying "wake up my children". In the long run I feel we are all going to become better people and love more for all these problems (tho its hard to see it now). I've been selfish til a life threatening situation hit me peronally recently, but I'm trying to change.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Dorothy Sexton said...

It makes you stop & think.Keep us informed,please. "newsletter"

2:38 PM  
Blogger small town cats said...

Hi Dee... What a heart warming story about little Benjamin! I would've never known about it if you hadn't sent out today's "Newsletter"... Thank You! ~ My thoughts and prayers will be with the little guy and his family. Hang in there and take it a minute at a time!

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will pray for Benjamin and his family. I saw the newsletter today. I hope things work out for Benjamin and his family.

Lee Anne

5:03 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Jean, I know you’ve been going through a hard time, and I’m sure you were NOT selfish before this!! It’s natural to get caught up in our own little worlds. My theory has always been that if we do our best to keep our own corners of the universe happy and well, and if we reach out to others in prayer, that that happiness is bound to spread. I’m sure you do that.

Benjamin’s aunt has a web site that tells us each day what’s happening, so I’ll definitely let you know, Dorothy.

Hi, Small Town Cats! I’m so happy you posted today—thanks!

5:08 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Welcome, Lee Anne and thanks for posting! (And for reading to the newsletter.)

5:10 PM  
Blogger Cherie said...

My prayers are with Benjamin, and all of the other 'little ones' out there. Please let us know how Benjamin is doing in your next NEWSLETTER.

5:29 PM  
Blogger LadyVampire2u said...

I have to say that I really enjoyed your blog today and am glad I got the newsletter to come check it out. All my prayers go out to Benjamin and his family. My family has delt with crisis's not unlike his. In fact, I was delivered a little premature myself and the doctor gave me a 10% chance of living. I made it and so will Benjamin. Miracles happen everyday and you just have to believe. And while everyday life can be upsetting and annoying, I think its a test to see if we can realize that those little troubles are not much compared to the troubles of others all over the world. So here's hoping everyone's day is filled with laughter and smiles. No troubles. And a much needed prayer at the end of the day for those in need.


6:50 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

April, you're so right--daily aggravations will always be with us, but the effect they have on us can be handled.

Thanks, Cherie!

7:48 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Shuck Ying, thanks so much for your good wishes! I'm passing all of this on to Ben's parents.

Dear anonymous, alias Bald God, thanks so much for your note and good wishes!

Emma, thanks so much for pulling for Benjamin!


7:53 PM  
Blogger Pamk said...

I worked with a nurse in L&D a few years ago and her son was the smallest preemie that had ever been born at the hospital where I worked. The smallest that had survived and thrived he was that small and at the time I worked with her he was six and was positively healthy as a horse. God works in mysterious ways. I will keep this litttle one in my prayers. Please keep us informed in your newsletter.

8:23 PM  
Blogger glenna day said...

I was just reading your newsletter and popped over to read your blog. Have to say it really touched my heart. I had to learn this lesson at a young age. My mom passed when I was 11 and my sister when she was only 24. I've learned to let the little things go. I always tell my family I love them and kiss them before they leave the house even if they're just going to the store. I'll be praying for this little precious life.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

PamK, that's a great note of encouragement. I think we need to remember that medical science can do so much now, so Benjamin has every chance in the world to make it. Thanks!

You've had too many reminders that each life is precious, Glenna! How wonderful that you've taken life's lessons to heart and let people know you love them.


11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

funny some actaully still , wrote ""newsletter'' still from your newsletter, but i do feel guilty, about getting up and complaing about getting a werid spring/summer cold already and this was like a stun gun hit me in my kidneys , wow poor pitiful me, aint all that sick compared to alot

1:05 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Anonymous, don't feel guilty! We're just people, not saints. And I betcha even saints would complain about a spring/summer cold!

Thanks for posting!


8:49 AM  

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