Most of us can remember the last time we saw an act of unconditional love but when was the last time you saw a life of unconditional love?
In my office I am privileged to witness acts of love and bravery. Every day I see parents with boundless awareness of the needs of their child. These families have helped me understand how to replace sadness and doubt with joy and loving acceptance.
This past week I was very busy. Hospital and night call, inpatient rounding and daily office visits took their toll. I was tired and thinking about the upcoming weekend autism walk at our local state park when two loving parents brought grace back into my life.
As I walked into my exam room and sat down on a stool I saw a mother holding her young son. He broke away from her grasp, fell to his knees and tried to bang his head against the floor. His father reached over, pulled him to his chest and cradled him in the safety of his lap. His son fought and screamed as his father endured repeated head butts to his chest. The mother placed her hands on the knee and shoulder of her son. She caressed him softly speaking to him with a voice devoid of fear and filled with love. The boy’s voice quieted as he relaxed into his father’s arms.
After I examined their son the father asked if he could take his son outside for a walk while I talked to his wife. As he walked out the door holding his son’s hand I could only think of the teamwork and cooperation in this family’s life. I turned to the mother and asked how she was doing, and she told me how difficult this was. I saw a tear in her eye and resolve in her face. We talked about solutions and jointly made a plan. I touched her shoulder as we left the room and told her to call me if I could help. She turned and smiled. The tear was gone.
The next day at the autism walk I watched a thousand families walk by in a parade of courage. I knew each family that passed would continue to face daily obstacles beckoning fear. Yet, looking into their eyes, I saw how the unconquerable power of love fueled each of them for today and all tomorrows. In that moment I understood how extraordinary events have the power to awaken within each of us the capacity for extraordinary courage and endless love, and how the actions of two parents would remain within me forever.