“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” Henry Ward Beecher
If you follow my blog, you will know I have a son who has ADHD. And for as long as I remember, and I hate to admit this, I have been asking myself why? Why does he have this affliction? Why does he behave the way he does? Why was he given to me? I’ve always felt that I’ve “played by the rules” and have been a fairly good person. Why did I deserve to get a son who when I ask him to do one thing he does the exact opposite, when he gets fits of anger smashes the microwave, glass, me or any other fragile object within his reach, who needs to have an assistant at school because he cannot do function in class on his own, who sometimes brings me to my wit’s end? Why?
I have been reading “Eat, pray, love” by Elizabeth Gilbert lately – read two thirds of the book within two days. Or to put it another way, visited two countries with Liz in the last two days :). And it has been tremendously thought provoking. And it was this morning that the realisation hit me like a ton of bricks on the head – there is a reason for everything and your son is your blessing. Your son is the beacon on your path towards presence, your son is your gate to heaven.
Because he challenges me to get out of my arm chair, move my butt and do something about myself. It’s easy to have presence when you’re by yourself, content with your life, doing everything at every time exactly the way you had envisioned. It’s no wonder monks live in a monastery and don’t have children! But it’s damn hard when there is something or someone constantly challenging you to do the total opposite. To have fits of anger, to start breaking stuff around the house, to start breaking yourself up, to let your ego have its own way and say “I’m sick and tired of this f***ing life!” That’s reaaaally hard. But that’s exactly when presence is imperative and essential.
It’s like when my pupils ask me: “how the hell am I supposed open my mouth wide, relax my forehead, be careful where my tongue is, breath properly, summon up all my emotions AND sing at the same time?” And my answer is: “practice and presence. With enough practice, each part of your body will with time learn where it has to be at any particular moment while you sing. But to do all that, you must have presence. There’s no more thinking about how am I going to pay the next bill, what am I going to cook tonight, what will I buy for my husband’s birthday. You have to be here, you have to be in the song, or it’s all piffle.”
So I thank God for my son. And for singing. For leading me, one on each arm, to the gates of heaven.