The Power of Earth Day
What does Earth Day mean to you?
The fragility of the earth and human life are interconnected.
Three times in my life I would have never dreamed circumstances would turn out as they did – reminding me of the sacredness and fragility of life on earth.
The first is my marriage. What a surprise, so pleasant, never expected, and the best thing that has ever happened to me.
The second is my first son’s arrival, Michael, into our lives.
The third is Michael’s sickness. There are others too, but none as significant and earth moving as those three. I thank God I do not know the ultimate plan for my life. The smallness of my humanity could not endure the shock of Truth, nor then would I learn to walk by faith.
I believe that nothing we endure or suffer is ever in vain. All adversity is part of “fighting the Good fight and running the race to completion.” I cannot judge what is good or bad, because I’ve lived long enough to know that what the world considers to be failure or pain may ultimately be the best thing that ever happens to me.
I have also learned that through all struggles and pain, good can come – like the phoenix from the ashes.
Today, I am infinitely thankful for my adversities.
Today is Earth Day, but to me it is Michael’s Surgery Day. This date will always make my heart tighten – but that painful memory I know can also be used to grow wisdom and love.
On Michael’s Surgery Day, forever ingrained in my soul is the moment my husband and I handed Michael over to the surgical team and watched one of the women in the team carry him away. Our tiny son draped was over her shoulder in his hospital gown, the gown too big for his tiny body. Michael was hugging her, a stranger, and clutching his Snoopy and little blanket. He was sedated so he would not be afraid of leaving us. My heart ached to take his place. Its seams were being stretched in a way I did not know was possible.
On Michael’s Surgery Day, I traveled to a place I had never been before. My heart painfully expanded and in doing so increased my ability to know compassion and love greater.
On Michael’s Surgery Day, my heart’s memory will always recall the waiting. As my husband and I stood on the pediatric floor (we could not possibly sit down in the waiting room during those 5 hours) I happened to gaze out the window at about the fifth hour. Michael’s tiny hospital bed, surrounded by the surgical team, was there – being wheeled by as I by chance happened to look out that window, across a courtyard and through a bank of windows that opened onto a hallway. His bed and he were completely draped and connected to every line possible. When I happened to look out that window and caught that 1 second glimpse, those seams of my heart tore and broke open. My heart bled freely and my legs gave way, but in that moment I lifted my head and gave thanks. That glimpse meant Michael was coming back to us.
On Michael’s Surgery Day, that 1 second glimpse was followed by the horrendous wait before we finally saw him. We were choking inside as we treaded down that pediatric ICU hallway, until we finally saw him in his bed, his Snoopy laying beside him as witness to his life saving surgery, while we stood in his ICU room – breath stolen from our lungs as we watched him laying there with a ventilator breathing for him, a chest tube draining blood and fluid from his heart and chest, and every arterial and vein line possible connected to his tiny 28 month old body.
On Earth Day, I am thankful for both of God’s gifts to me. Michael is my firstborn son, infinitely and immeasurably dear to me, while this planet Earth is God’s firstborn gift to us.
We should be treating this planet like we care for our own child. When my son hurts, when he was so sick – just like our planet hurts and is so sick – our hearts should tighten and we should gasp for breath.
We should move to act out of compassion and love to fix it, to nurture it, to help it grow. Like our children’s pain is also our pain – the pain of this earth should be ours too. Our hearts should burst at the seams – and yearn to love greater, our children and our Earth.
Our children, and this Earth, are a gift. If we love our children we must love planet earth. If we do not protect planet Earth as our precious child, then we do not love our children.
When you recycle, you are loving your children, even if you have no biological children. When you buy less and repurpose more, you are demonstrating love. Earth is our only home and if we destroy it, we are heartlessly destroying our childrens’ future.
The providential connection of Michael’s Surgery Day and Earth Day is no coincidence.
Let’s all do what Mother Teresa implored us to do if we want world peace, go home and love your children.
Love your children. Love the Earth. Because just 1 day – can make a world of difference, to the only truly valuable things in this universe.