During that first visit, my husband and I were both in a rage. We had no idea how our child was being treated. All communication from the hospital was muddled. Calls were dropped, messages were cut off, nurses on one floor weren't communicating with nurses on another floor. It had been days since we'd seen our baby girl, and the only things we were sure of were: she's locked in, she has no personal effects and she needs help.
It would have been really easy to lose our minds. Looking around us, parents were gripping onto each other in sobs. Their grief was palpable. A grandmother sat swaying with her grandchild in one corner, both quietly crying onto the shoulder of the other. In our new-to-this state, we imagined that those parents & that grandmother had stories much like ours. Hi, we're confused. We have no idea what's going on and we're terrified. The staff was combative or dismissive, depending on the topic of conversation. This only amplified the worry and frustration filling the gym.
We chose joy instead. I don't say this lightly. In that dank room full of hurting families, we decided to hold tight to one another. We decided to smile instead of cry. We decided to express gratitude instead of shame our child. We decided to pray and hold fast to faith. Love became a verb that night, with all signs pointing to "GIVE UP, you've been beaten". We made a different choice. We chose joy.
When you direct your focus towards thoughts of love, acceptance and joy - you have no spare energy for opposite thinking.
The marvelous thing about deciding to change your mindset during a chaotic moment is that it's constantly available to you. It's not only available, it's accessible. There is no earning joy. Joy doesn't belong to any particular person, object or place. Choosing joy does not have to make sense. All that is required of you is to be still, take a breath, and CHOOSE.