Is the ability to hold two opposing feelings and/or thoughts something that one is graced with or something that comes with time and experience and exposure? I don't know the answer, but I see it all the time in those who share the experience of caring for a child with disabilities or who have lost a child to illness. I can look at Sophie and grieve for the loss of "normalcy," but I can also exult in her being exactly the way she is. I can sorrow over the absurdity of changing a near-seventeen year old's diapers and marvel at the gift of intimacy that entails. My friend Jody's beautiful daughter Lueza suffered from severe cerebral palsy due to gross medical malpractice when she was born, and she died unexpectedly nearly a year ago at the age of sixteen, but Jody told me the other day that it was such an honor to have cared for her daughter so intimately for so many years. I'm not talking here about all that unconditional love blather, although trite expressions are trite for a reason. I'm heading toward an understanding of openness -- of what it means to be truly open to experience, to the relinquishment of false notions of power and control, to, dare I say it, Love. I wouldn't be able to live, one person might say, hearing of the death of someone's child. I could never do what you do, another says, I just couldn't handle it.
Contrary to what some might say, we're not given what we can handle. We're opening to handle what we're given.