Got Perspective?

The world is a half glass of water.  You are a half glass of water. Your perspective determines whether you focus on what you have or what you are missing  It is wise to be aware of personal and social shortcomings.  However, life is richer when you immerse yourself in the great things within your reach… (Unknown)

This past weekend was a true lesson/test for me about keeping everything in perspective. I am always trying to preach this mantra to my young kids– missed opportunities, broken toys, sibling arguments, lost games are usually followed up with my canned response, “put everything into perspective.”   However, often this feels like such a hollow request, even to me, especially now.

Last Thursday evening (now I can say, pre hurricane Irene), I suffered my first migraine ever.  Well, at the time, I didn’t know what was happening.  I couldn’t stand up.  I was bedridden for hours with a debilitating headache and nausea that wouldn’t stop.   I can’t remember when I’ve physically felt worse, ever.  After two days, I decided to seek some local medical advice outside that of my father who was doing his best to help long distance from Maryland.  The doctor said exactly what I didn’t want to hear, “I want you to go to the hospital to get a Cat Scan of your brain—just to make sure everything is ok.”

The cool air from the machine kept me aware of what was actually happening so that I couldn’t relax.

The table moved backwards and forwards amidst the most unnerving clanking sounds. There I was. Moving in and out of a CAT Scan machine, probably a one-time test, to confirm that there was nothing wrong with my head

As I kept my eyes closed, my mind wandered to Mom. My mom was all too familiar with these claustrophobic machines, except her myriad scans were to determine not if something was possibly off kilter but, how many tumors she had, where were they located, and if they were shrinking or growing.   I immediately felt ashamed.  Poor me.  On a beautiful summer morning, I had to spend time inside the Southampton Hospital because I had a terrible headache and the Dr. wanted to make sure everything was clear. “ It’s probably nothing,” he assured me.  When was the last time my mother heard that comment? Never.  She never had the opportunity to let out a sigh of relief when the scans came back normal, because they never came back normal.  She probably never laid down on that hard, cold table and let her mind wander and relax because she could predict the outcome of her CAT scans.  She knew her report would come back with the worst possible news.   Yet, somehow, she went to these appointments alone, like she was casually going to get hair nails done.  She dealt with the fear and the pain and the claustrophobia— it was her normal.   After only five minutes in the machine and another 1 minute to read the scans, I was cleared. That was it. Nothing strange going on up in my head.  I have never felt so much relief.  Relief that there wasn’t something serious going on.  But also, relief that I finally put everything in perspective.  Those five minutes in that machine were more intense and meaningful than any.

Not one day later, Hurricane Irene was pounding away outside our house with a vicious vengeance.  The torrential rain was horizontal.  Many trees were downed. Streets flooded. Three days later and we’re still learning about the path of destruction that’s slowly unfolding throughout the suburban and seaside communities of the Northeast.

But, my family is together right now – actually, three generations!  Happy (enough).  Healthy.  We ventured outside to inspect the damage.  Nothing terrible. Broken branches and leaves everywhere.  That’s it. We’re without power, and have been since early Sunday morning.  So many people are crazed out here without power.  What will they do?  Food will spoil! Pools will get backed up with leaves!  Blackberries and cell phones can’t charge!  The local Starbucks is frantic with people who not only demand their Double Mocha Latte in the morning but also fight for the few working electrical outlets so they can juice up their now dead devices. Come on people!

Well, I certainly weathered two storms this weekend- one physical storm and one from Mother Nature.

I’m writing this post by candle light in a house that’s eerily quiet and muggy and so very dark.  We’ve opened the windows to let in the cool night air and I’m listening to the chorus of crickets outside and god damn, I’m thankful.

I’m thankful because, at the moment, I’m healthy and my family is safe.

I’m thankful that the massive tree that fell down in our yard didn’t fall on our house.

I’m thankful that I can appreciate these three days without power, realizing that so much could be so much worse!

I got perspective!  Do you?


  1. Another great post, Shari! Glad that everything is okay.


  1. […] = 'wpp-256'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};There have been many lessons learned these past four days without power in the wake of Hurricane Irene.  One lesson: how quickly food spoils when you don’t have a […]

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