05 Oct Faith
In February our family expanded as we welcomed our second set of twins, Leonardo and Celeste. Our son arrived pink, chubby and healthy. Our daughter was born frail, blue and deathly ill. We learned of her congenital heart disease prenatally, but the severity of it could only be fully assessed upon her birth. Its hard to believe that so much can go wrong not only with the development of the heart but the electrical system that insures it beats correctly. Celeste has been in and out of cardiac intensive care for more than four and a half months over the past seven, and she has weathered seven surgeries. While this experience has shaken our family to its core, it has also provided an unexpected invitation to reaffirm and practice our faith, watching it grow more strongly each day right alongside the daughter we have come to call our warrior princess.
Here is what I know to be true. No matter what life delivers, my every moment is rooted in a deep and unshakable faith; a conscious acknowledgement of an all-loving and all-embracing power that guides me and constantly moves me into more. Thats right amidst catastrophic health challenges and life and death experiences I am expanding into greater states of love and connection.
Faith asks us to relinquish control and trust in a divinely-guided outcome that will unfold in a perfectly ordered way that is never fast enough for us. Its practice is highly personal and in our home it is demonstrated in a multitude of different ways. Candles burn constantly, and the smell of temple incense permeates the air. From my wifes devout and fervent repetition of prayer on her rosary, to my mothers morning practice of reciting ancient scriptures in Sanskrit, neither of these powerful women are beseeching an outcome, but in their own way are cultivating the courage to align with the highest outcome to unfold. My almost three-year-old twins find great comfort in their nightly prayers in which they give gratitude for everyone who is a part of their lives. And my practice is as seamless and grace-filled as breathing. Resting in the awareness of my breath, which has become my living meditation, provides me a conscious recognition of the divine spark that lives at our core. It is at the foundation of my work, my play and my contemplation. With every breath I am filled with life, and life is the greatest miracle of all.
We all struggle, and when life challenges us we are best served by learning to cultivate a can-do faith; one that is rooted in expressing spontaneous, right action born of the heart. At just two days old Celeste was taken out of our arms for a surgery that we were told she may not survive. My faith allowed me to trust that if life was to deliver this heartbreaking scenario then it would in turn guide me through it and provide my wife and I with a greater capacity to endure whatever comes. When you place faith in the forefront of your awareness, it has the ability to steer you through even the most challenging of situations.
Faith needs our constant nurturing. It is easy in moments of challenge to throw your arms up and question the essential nature of life. Death, divorce, health challenges, emotional stress and financial catastrophe are just a few of lifes curveballs that provide us with an invitation to make faith a part of our daily lives. We are not being punished nor are we victims. In truth we are being given an opportunity to demonstrate our own personal empowerment. Weve rediscovered with Celestes health challenges that life has its own rhythm and that the more we are rooted in faith, the more we are empowered to meet each moment fully, less reactionary and certainly filled with greater love and grace.
Today life in our home is a moment to moment adventure. Even though Celeste is more stable, we have more surgeries in her future. Her condition keeps us firmly rooted in conscious awareness. We slow down more, take time to hug and kiss our kids, spend more time with each other, argue far less and no longer take anything in our lives for granted. Our grief over time has transitioned into gratitude. Jan and I know that no matter what happens with Celeste, our faith will carry us through.