This is Life... Welcome to It


This is Life... Welcome to It

vegetables-752153_640There's a quote attributed to John Lennon. "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans." I'd read it here and there for years, but it never made much of an impact on me, always seen as a nice platitude, the sort of thing that gets a nod and a "That's nice, dear," while you stand by with a Roman candle in one hand and Old Glory in the other trying to be impressive with your big brain.

You know life. It's the great thing that's just outside your door or passing you by on the road when you're driving back and forth distracted by all your problems. Back a few years ago before my wife's Fibromyalgia diagnosis we were making all kinds of amazing plans. Paying down all of our debt until it was all gone, paid off our car, getting ready to buy a house...and then it all erupted. It was Vesuvian in profile, Krakatoan in devestation.

Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Barrett! Not only do you have a one-year-old baby, but you also - Mrs. Barrett - have an incurable illness that will leave you physically disabled for the rest of your life! How does that grab you, ma'am? Oh, you had plans? Well, see...we here at Light Involving Fun Everything (L.I.F.E) don't really account for your plans. We had this all set up and ready for you, so you could really see what you're made of, really know if your marriage is strong, really see how much you love each other and G-d.

Oh, okay, L.I.F.E. Since you put it that way...


I don't want that! I want my old life back! I want to be debt free and be able to grow my garden with the wife I just bought my house with! I want my son to be able to play chase and water guns with his mom while I'm at work and then come home and join the fun myself! I want equal distribution of house work, child rearing, and cooking!

Three years have elapsed since that day, and you know what? I love my life, my wife, and my home more now than I did then. This isn't at all what I wanted or what I expected five years ago when Jake was born, but I wouldn't change any of it. As it turned out we're still growing vegetables, still creating our own little Garden of Eden out in the country on top of a mountain. It's just taking a little longer than I'd hoped. Even that in itself has been a teacher for me, though. The amount of time to get things done is a part of the process itself. I'd been a rusher my whole life, but of all the lessons the last few years have taught me is that getting a little bit done is progress, and good progress is better than rushed (and inevitably slipshod) completion.

I still get depressed about Cris' illness. It's not fair, know, maybe it is fair. At least maybe it's just because I have learned so much about love and life that I wouldn't have if I hadn't been put through this hell, the funny thing being that now I don't feel like it's hell. The situation hasn't changed, but I have, and in my changing not only my life but life itself has changed.

I'm not only coping now. I'm thriving most of the time. I slide backwards sometimes, but it gets better if you let it...if you make it. Yeah, that's more like it. You have to make it better through how you see it and how you feel about it.

She's taking a nap now, a daily occurrence in our lives, something absent for the first 35 years of her life, but once Fibromyalgia took hold of her, she learned the importance and beauty of self care, part of which is a daily siesta. I love her so much, and I love me so much, and most importantly I love us so much.

I'm thankful for our life together.

Forget the plans. This is life.

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It's a strange tug of war that goes on between missing my old life and being so grateful for the lessons I've learned because of this whole turn of events.


Thanks, Tom, for continuing to share your family story. You have learned one of the most exquisite LIFE lessons, that of contentment, on whatever path you're traveling. I'd love to teach that to my children; teach it to myself. So many things we know in our minds but need to keep applying to our hearts. Keep blogging! (like you picture!!!)

johnny yarbrough

Yes sir. I wrote my first blog about this same subject matter. In my blog I quoted Doc Holiday from Tombstone when he said \"There is no normal, just life\".\r\nI read your blog and It hit me clear as a bell brother. We Have what we think is life. For a lucky few that may happen that way. The rest of us go through the \"Whose line is it anyway\" life. I have found it involves a lot of guilt, but those precious moments.... those precious moments when the do happen are worth so much more.Great Blog By the Way.