Sunday, March 13, 2011

On Being Human

One thing Amy and I have talked lots about is how Gabrielle is teaching us to be more human. Not that we could be any more human than we already are, but I think we're experiencing more of the "human experience" through this ordeal than we ever would have otherwise. Our culture is obsessed with perfection: we work so hard to appear "in control," and be happy, and we even ask people how they're doing expecting that they say "good" or "great" or whatever.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm learning life isn't always about being in control, or feeling happy, or "doing good." I think what I'm saying is that, as Amy and I prepare for what the future brings (and because we're acutely aware of how finite Gabrielle's future is and are learning to enjoy the ups and work through the downs because we don't want to waste much time wallowing in sorrow), we're experiencing a whole new spectrum of thoughts and feelings that have made us ... well ... more human.

I wouldn't ever wish this ordeal - or any adversity, for that matter - on anyone. It truly is a 10/10 on the suck-o-meter. But in reading everyone's wonderful comments, letters, and emails; and in receiving all the cards, gifts, and dinners (oh man, I love the dinners!); it just makes me realize how human we all are, and how wrong our culture is.  It makes me think of all the losses and heartbreaks and trials and tribulations that our prehistoric ancestors endured: living in caves, crossing oceans, settling new lands, hunting, gathering, and trying to keep one another alive. It makes me marvel at how they just had to be there for each other when things got bad, or really bad ... and how fully human they must have lived their lives.

And I think of how disconnected we all are from each other, and how our cultural values of perfection and happiness are so one-dimensional with respect to the complete human spectrum of experience. This is understandable, of course, because what I'm talking about is living through hardship and adversity, things no one wants (I don't), and our science, medicine, and technology do a good job of preventing them from occurring.

But our family's hardship - our darling Gabrielle - has helped me realize how incredibly "human" people are capable of being. And it's a pretty marvelous thing.


  1. "wisdom is nothing more than healed pain" - Robert Gary Lee.

    I always thought this was true.
    Love, Jennelle

  2. I love this an I-cell parents ourselves....Scott and I have experienced the same feelings and realizations about our "human experience." Of course we would not wish it on anyone either and yes...10/10 on the suck-o-meter is quite accurate, BUT.....(and only after 3 years of dealing with this can I say this) I am grateful for this son has taught me more about the meaning of life than I EVER would have learned if he had hit that 75% and been born healthy. I know what real strength is, real hardship, and truly what really matters. Love to you all....

  3. Thanks Tara, it's so good to hear you say that 3 years in. Like Trent said, these are smile-cell babies, they make every cell in your body smile, and they teach you so much about life.


    p.s. I also like Trent's idea of having a big I-Cell family and extended family and friend-support-group super jamboree sometime down the road.

  4. I'm just speechless. I'm so amazed how well you two can express your daily struggles. Gabrielle is here to teach you so much and in return you are teaching all of us so so much. You have been given a gift in Gabrielle and you are taking such good care of her - she's so lucky. Well done guys!