“…Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
At all of five months old, my nephew is already schooling me on life.
At this time a week ago, the cutie pie pictured above was diagnosed with scalded skin syndrome, a bacterial infection that made his delicate skin from head to toe peel apart in sheets, bleeding and insufferably painful. Further, his right eye was swollen completely shut. He looked like he had obtained second degree burns shortly after finishing a heavyweight bout with Muhammad Ali himself. Seeing a child suffer is one thing. Having that child be the newest member of your family, however, brings about a crushing wave of grief and hopelessness. We, his family, knew that he’d ultimately get better, but we would’ve preferred that he didn’t get sick in the first place. Not with this.
On his first night in the hospital, I saw my nephew completely spent. Exhausted and in pain, all he could do is curl up into his mother’s arms for comfort as we all waited for this to pass. My mother came over and began speaking to him-and the last thing I would’ve imagined happened.
My nephew smiled. His smiling then turned into laughter.
As my mother continued to joke with him, he continued to laugh… and laugh… and laugh. In spite of his condition, he still managed to find joy and cling to it. In spite of his battered appearance, he became the sparky, spunky, joyful little human being I had come to know and absolutely adore. All we could do was laugh with him, the contagious melody of his joy pulling us out of our collective lament, if only for a moment.
It was then that I was absolutely sure that he was going to be okay. Our little guy already has a resilience that I aspire to possess one day.
And so it goes with us. We will all ultimately find ourselves in unspeakable pain, the worst we will have ever experienced in our lives. It is natural to express upset, anger, frustration and sadness during it all. However, never stop looking for those moments of joy, no matter how fleeting. Hope is always present in the midst of pain, you just have to keep your eyes and ears open. It always arrives and when it does, you too will find it within yourself to at least smile, if not laugh out loud.
Dedicated to Kadence Scott Elliott. Auntie loves you!