Originally posted on Facebook HERE

Well, today’s view is certainly different. On a plane heading from Denver to Fresno to spend the week in Yosemite and check out the giant sequoias. On the way to the airport today, we rode the shuttle with a man and what I assume was his son, who was a special needs child. The man in question had obviously been caring for this child for a long time, probably his whole life. He was so patient. I write a lot about creating the life we want and making sure our priorities are in line with what we’re actually doing, but sometimes life gives us a responsibility we never asked for that changes everything. I’ve known several people who have received the responsibility of taking care of someone (usually a child) with special needs. Many people will also need to care for an elderly person, or spouse later in life. How we view that responsibility will have a lot to do with our own quality of life from that point forward. I can only imagine the plethora of emotions that a parent feels when their child is born with special needs. Has to be everything from “why us?” to “we will love and care for this child no matter what the cost”. Some people will choose to walk away entirely. In some way, all of us have circumstances beyond our control. We are born into whatever situation our parents are in. The atmosphere, the food, the way we interact, are all impacted right away by the circumstances we grow up with. And some of us will get a responsibility we didn’t see coming, or a call to duty that we feel compelled to take on, even knowing it will impact everything from that point forward. How do we decide when to surrender to what life has given us, and when to walk away? Every situation is different. Most people who have a child that has special needs I think would feel compelled to care for that child no matter what the cost. What if your spouse was injured and unresponsive, say in a coma, for an unknown period of time? What about caring for aging parents and grandparents? Nursing homes are full of people who seldom, if ever get visitors. We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose our reactions. Thoreau said it years ago, “circumstances don’t make the man, they reveal him”. I’d say it’s a little of both, actually. The circumstances we’re born into certainly shape us. The circumstances we get as adults reveal what that shape truly is. Kudos to those of you who have taken on the task of caring for another person or persons in your life with an open and loving heart.

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