This is the 7th chapter of
“Synchronicity: A Divinely Orchestrated Journey”
I will be releasing 1 chapter online a day for 40 days.
Click Here to read the full book from the first chapter
The 4th of December, 2015
“Would you rewind, or fast forward?”
BettyJane poses this question to me while we were in the midst of dealing with an unrelenting attack by chaos.
One which had both of us cornered at the brink.
When I don’t provide an answer, BettyJane persists,
“No seriously, if you could either rewind your life or fast forward it – which one would you pick?”
“I would push play,” I say.
I have learned that attempting to beat chaos without grace is unwise and extremely unproductive.
“You really would want to be right here?”
“Yes, I would want to be right here,” I say again as firmly as an umpire would shout “Out” on a close call at first base, knowing the more firmly he shouted it, the more convincing he would be.
I say it very firmly.
But I am not convinced.
I’m not convinced that I would really prefer to push play.
Not this time.
This time I have my doubts.
“Pushing play,” is just too painful.
It hurts a lot.
But hurting is good and pain is the price of being human.
It makes you recognize that you are alive.
It makes you feel.
It makes you question and compare.
Pain makes you more aware.
It heightens your senses.
It sharpens your focus.
It’s by experiencing pain that you find answers.
Pain forces you to connect the dots of your life using your inner vision as a model for what you believe the picture of your life should look like.
It makes you recognize things that you would have overlooked if you hadn’t experienced the pain.
Pain makes you fight for it.
“Really? This is what you would want?” BettyJane repeats.
“Of course not, but this is where we are. And I believe we need to be here for some reason,” I say.
Our conversation suddenly comes to an abrupt halt as we both have to deal with another onslaught from chaos. It’s as if chaos was listening to our conversation and realized BettyJane and I were suddenly coming back from the brink so it relentlessly attacked us once again.
There’s something in BettyJane’s question that I feel the need to delve into and inspect more closely. Her question stays with me throughout the day. It makes me tingle. And when I tingle I know I have come across something of importance to my soul.
I decided to give the question the highest priority of importance and space in my mind.
I decide to conduct a personal experiment.
I ask myself a question:
If I had decided to rewind or fast forward my life, what would I have recently missed?
I sit back and reflect.
I WOULD HAVE MISSED…
I would have missed an 11-year-old boy named Jaxon be able to partake in his first wrestling practice of his life.
Through a friend of a friend, I met Jaxon’s mother, Amber, online in 2015.
Amber is the mother of a child who is fighting cancer.
Last year she posted on Facebook that all she wanted for Jaxon’s birthday was for people to send him a birthday card, for what Jaxon really wanted was unattainable – Jaxon wanted to be able to wrestle like his brother.
But he could not.
For Jaxon was too ill to do so.
The doctors thought wrestling would be too dangerous for him, due to his illness.
So Amber started the “Send Some Birthday Love to Jaxon” Facebook page and requested that people mail Jaxon a birthday card.
Amber’s reasoning was that a piece of mail would provide Jaxon with something to look forward to each day.
As a parent of a sick child, I understand the significance and importance of just wanting something good to look forward to each day.
Something unexpected, unpredictable, totally arbitrary – something to get you to tomorrow, where maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will bring something better for your child, than today.
To Ambers surprise, the letters, cards and sports apparel addressed to Jaxon flooded in.
I believe he received more than 1,100 pieces in all.
It was a wonderful outpouring of love and support from total strangers and acquaintances from the wrestling community.
It touched my heart.
If I had fast forward my life over this painful time I would have missed Ambers recent Facebook post in which she shared that during a recent oncology visit, the doctor gave Jaxon permission to wrestle.
Just like his brother.
I WOULD HAVE MISSED…
I would have missed the first puck of the
New York Rangers 2015-16 season dropped by a young girl named Taylor.
Taylor is fighting Neuro Degenerative Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis, a rare blood disorder that affects the central nervous system. There are only 350 diagnosed cases per year.
I met Taylor and her family at a benefit the Islip Owls Travel Baseball team organized to support her in her fight. I was honored to be asked to speak at her fundraiser.
As fate would have it that night, I pulled into the parking lot at the exact time Taylor and her family were getting out of their car. I got to spend a few minutes with them while walking into the event. I’m glad fate knew what it was doing as that short walk together wound up being the only quality time I was able to spend with Taylor and her family as she would need to leave the benefit early due to the fact that she wasn’t feeling well.
After the event, I got to know Taylor and her mom Teresa from afar by following
“Taylor’s Hope Foundation” on social media.
I relate all too well with Teresa’s plight through her late night posts on Taylor’s fight and journey.
In one of the posts, I would learn how Taylor met hockey star Adam Graves through the “Garden of Dreams Foundation,” and how this foundation has significantly impacted her life. I would understand why it is said that hockey players are the greatest professional athletes in the world.
I would learn of innumerable behind the scenes occurrences that the New York Rangers privately shared with Taylor.
I would witness how their compassion renewed life back into a young girl.
I would understand how their text messages to Taylor before their games, urging her to take good care of herself, provided Taylor with the tenacity to keep fighting, even on her worst of days.
I WOULD HAVE MISSED…
I would have missed appreciating the sound of laughter resounding throughout my house.
This seems like a small feat, easily overlooked and underappreciated, but it is not.
Usually, one of the six of us in my family needs repair at any given moment, each in our own way.
We all have been living in and dealing with grief.
It seems in our case, grief doesn’t have an expiration date, it pops up out of the blue, triggered by the smallest, most remote of things.
It continually attempts to derail our life, and it would if we let it.
It is weird, grief seems invisible to others but we can see the signs of it instantly in each other, and when we do, we are there for each other, helping one another overcome it.
It seems we each take turns, and never are fully whole, either as individuals or as a family unit.
This is our new normal.
But for a brief moment the other day, we all were whole.
We all were happy.
All at the same time.
That is something I miss.
I WOULD HAVE MISSED…
I would have missed the anticipatory look on my daughter Jessica’s face when she knew it was Tuesday, as Tuesday is the day her friend Vanessa comes to visit her.
I would have also missed the glow on Jessie’s face after Vanessa left.
A glow that would endure the rest of the week.
I WOULD HAVE MISSED…
I would have missed the meaning and magic of friendship being defined right before my eyes.
I would have missed the pictures and updates on Facebook showing a high school classmate dropping everything in her life to travel a few thousand miles to spend time with her life long best friend, who just had a double mastectomy.
Presence is the greatest present one could give.
And friendship is the greatest healing agent.
Have you ever watched a movie for the second time and noticed all of the things that you didn’t pick up the first time?
Pain has had that effect on my life.
It has given my eyes, vision.
My ears, empathy.
And my heart, compassion.
Being a Life-Changing Event Club Member makes me look at life through a different filter.
A filter of love.
This filter makes me dig deeper to get to know people and their struggles and the stories of their lives.
This filter is one of the greatest gifts chaos has given me.
I have paid a hefty price for this filter although it was available to me for free.
In James Radcliffe’s “Everything is Broken” blog, he talks about the Japanese philosophy of ‘Kintsugi’.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing cracked objects with gold.
Objects that were deemed broken beyond repair;
instead of being discarded or thrown away, gold, which is thought to be the most valuable asset in the world was used to repair them.
As you know, gold is finite and is in limited supply.
I venture to say that the most valuable asset in the world is not gold, but love.
And love is infinite and is an unlimited resource which we all have access to.
Love is the gold that fills the cracks in peoples lives.
When it does, people who were thought to have been broken, are repaired.
To all the people who are the “Gold” that fill’s the cracks in other peoples lives – I salute you.
You are the most valuable asset in the world.
And life is more beautiful for you having done so.
And seeing you do that – well,
I wouldn’t have missed that for the world.
Synchronicity is the 4th book in the “Every Breath is Gold” Memoir series.
#1 – 6 Minutes Wrestling with Life
#2 – AGAIN
#3 – Your Soul Knows
All of JohnA Passaro’s books are available at these fine online stores:
Categories: Chapter Samples, Life, Life Changing Events, Life Lessons, love, Possiblility, Shorts
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