A close friend of mine, a wonderful man who could have been a prophet if he lived back in the '' Biblical times, '' was stuck very hard with the sudden news that his daughter has leukemia. She is only three years old. An angel. Did nothing to deserve anything.
We were at the hospital for the last 2 days, trying to ease the family's pain. The good news is, her leukemia is the treatable kind. It'll take about two years of chemo for a full recovery. That's OK in the sense that when she grows up she will not even remember what happened to her. She is at one of the best hospitals in the world and in good hands. But that does not lessen the pain of this terrible lottery.
Yesterday when we were at the hospital one of the visitors was another acquaintance who has lost a son to leukemia about 15 years ago. In times like that I feel so humbled, ground hard to fine atomic bits of compassion, worn out to a fine pulverized film of love. Standing next to them I am nothing. They are the survivors of world wars. I'm just a fluke who is privileged to be accepted as a friend.
I usually do love people, with all their struggle for dignity and happiness, and I do so with all the compassion I can afford.
However, in cases like this, when small kids get stuck with something they can never see coming, I really feel like I'm a part of the family. It's more than love. Pain of my loved ones define who my family is in a way that happy news and laughter do not.
When I laugh, the whole world is my tribe. The world is my backyard. That is the magic of laughter.
When I suffer, family means the chosen few. We vibrate together in the inner sanctum. And that is the grace and gift of sorrow.