Seek the Blessing in the Burden

“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes”  ―    Thích Nhất Hạnh

In the 2:00 hour of Wednesday morning, July 10, a thunderstorm of considerable note rumbled through our zip code, dumping torrents of rain and treating us to a sound and light show sufficient to gain and hold one’s attention.  Again in the 4:00 hour another storm crashed it’s way into my slumber, and yet another in the 5:00 hour.  Unbeknownst to me, at some point during the night the volume of rain became too much for our 20 year old cast iron sump pump, and it dutifully gave it’s last full measure in defense of our basement. Simultaneously the back-up pump kicked on and began emitting a screeching alarm tone, which I did not hear until the storms had subsided and the ambient noise level returned to normal. So, awakening once more, this time to an unfamiliar high-pitched noise, I set about the task of tracking it down.

Descending to the first floor the volume increased, and opening the basement door I finally realized what was going on.  I trotted down the steps, reset the alarm, muttered some expletives about having to replace the primary pump, and began trotting back up the steps.  Reaching the first floor I felt unusually winded (I am a runner and I don’t get winded from one flight of steps) so I paused a moment to catch my breath.  By the time I reached the second floor I was once again searching for oxygen so I sat on my bed and considered my options.  Having had bypass surgery in 2002, I decided the best course of action would be to call my brother-in-law the Cardiologist and he, in very stern tones, instructed me to get to the ER immediately.  Yep, suspicion confirmed…I was having a heart attack!

In laymen’s terms, due to a blockage in my right coronary artery the top half of my heart had stopped communicating with the bottom half and my heart rate was dropping precipitously.  Long story short – I made it to the ER in time, got myself a brand new shiny stent, checked out three days later, very happy and extremely fortunate to be here to tell the tale.

“…make the effort to search for the blessing in the burden.”

Now back to that old pump; here is the extraordinary chain of events I came to see and appreciate in retrospect:

Had there not been thunderstorms all night, the old pump would not have failed.  Had the old pump not failed, the back-up pump would not have kicked on.  Had it not kicked on, the back-up pump would not have alarmed.  Had it not alarmed, I would not have been summoned to the basement to find the noise.  Had I not run to the basement and back, I never would have experienced shortness of breath and realized I was in the very early stages of a heart attack.  In fact, had it not been for that wonderous and inexplicable sequence of events, I would have crawled out of bed at 5:30 AM, pulled on my running shoes and blithely begun my normal Wednesday morning run…and might very well have dropped dead in a ditch along Haskins Rd.

“All is Gift”

All in life is gift…the fatal failure of one pump sets in motion an extraordinary chain of events that saves another.  Synchronicity reveals its purpose to us in retrospect only if we make mindful effort to search for the blessing in the burden.

Make the effort…find the gift!