How My Newborn Son’s Near-Death Taught Me that We Can Always Choose Gratitude

baby boy   Seventeen years ago this morning, my (then) wife gave birth to our first son.  He was six weeks premature.

I caught a glimpse of him as the nurse whisked him to the delivery room table where the team gets babies breathing.  My wife and I waited, anxious to hold him.

But we heard no cries from our baby.

More nurses began to gather around the table and assist the doctor.  The team’s activity became more frantic; we could hear the concern in their voices.  Minutes passed, seeming like hours, but still we heard no sounds from our baby.

“What’s wrong?”, we began to imploringly ask.  Tears of fear streaming down our faces.

The delivery team was too occupied with working on our son to answer our questions.  Within moments our baby was rushed out of the delivery room and a nurse explained to us that they were unable to get him breathing and were rushing him to the children’s hospital downtown.

We never got to hold him on his birthday.  Let alone see him.

Wipe Your Eyes (I Just Did) and Keep Reading

My son is seventeen years old today.

He spent over a month in that infant intensive care unit.  I aged a year in that month.  And I’m happy to say (given the alternative) that my son has given me plenty more opportunities to prematurely age since March 27th, 1996. ;-)

I’m really proud of the thoughtful, open-minded, curious, intelligent, and mature young man my first-born son has grown into.  I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to be his father and mentor him.  He’ll always hold a special place in my heart because he is my first child; he made me a father.

It’s been wonderful to have the perspective of what “might have been”, had things turned out differently during my son’s first month of life.  Especially when he does something that gives me a few more gray hairs.  Yet I’m also grateful that I don’t need something so obvious, to feel grateful for, to find gratitude.

(Finding gratitude for being grateful is a very powerful Mobius band, by the way.  I highly recommend it!) (Click that link to Tweet it)

Did You Know You Have a Super-Power?

Yet my gratitude for my son on his birthday reminds me just how powerful gratitude is.  In a universe where our beliefs create our expectations and our expectations create our material reality, building beliefs powered by gratitude forms extraordinary life experiences. (Click that link to Tweet it)

In fact, as I’ve written in an earlier post, gratitude is so effective it’s like a secret super-power.

Is there any life experience where you can’t uncover some inherent gratitude?  I haven’t found one yet. (Click that Link to Tweet it)

Oh, I’ll be the first to admit that I have plenty of life experiences that are undesirable or unwanted.  Things that would be different were I, literally, writing a script.  But even the worst hold kernels of gratitude; in fact, sometimes the worst of them hold the most powerful seeds of gratitude. (Click that link to Tweet it)

Even if only in retrospect.

A Commitment and Willingness to Try is All it Takes

If I’m committed to finding gratitude in all my life’s circumstances, I’ve found that I can eventually find gratitude in even the really undesirable ones.  Because of my previous experiences with finding it there.

As in, I can tell myself this story:

“Although this event is very frightening, feels bad, and is extremely unwanted, I can believe that I’ll be okay, things happen like they’re supposed to, and, in the long run, I will most likely find hidden blessings in these events.  Even if that takes a while, for now I can choose to feel my feelings, resolve to face my fears, and trust that things will be okay.”

Allow Me to Be Presumptuous for a Moment

Am I presumptuous to tell you that you can always choose to tell yourself a story like that one?  What if you’re dealing with the death of a loved one, learning about a frightening diagnosis, or losing your marriage?

No, I am not being presumptuous; I have faced those events myself and told that story.  Things have not always turned out exactly as I wanted, but that story has always proven prophetic  – I have always been okay in the long run and, also in the long run, I have always found hidden blessings in those undesirable events.

Because, over time and with enough telling, that story has become one of my beliefs.

Given the Choice, Why Wouldn’t You Choose Gratitude Over the Alternative?

The stories you tell are, and will always be, your choice.  Even when the events are horribly unwanted.  Google the names of “Viktor Frankl” and “Louie Zamperini” if you want to learn more about people who used this technique under the most wretched situations imaginable and survived (even thrived) – especially as time passed.

Today, as I feel grateful for the gift of seventeen years spent with my son, I hope you, too, find many things to be grateful for.  And I also hope you join me in my commitment to telling stories about all life’s circumstances that allow you to feel gratitude.

You’ll love the material reality those beliefs you build will create.

And Happy Birthday, son!

And stay tuned to this blog for more techniques to use new paradigms from quantum physics to align your life with your desires…

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3 responses to “How My Newborn Son’s Near-Death Taught Me that We Can Always Choose Gratitude

  1. Oh, my. So touching and hard memories to relive. Remember we came home here to change and Dad passed a kidney stone as we prepared to travel back to town.

  2. I’m a mom, so this made me tear up. I’ve been very lucky that all four of my children are healthy and I’m grateful for it everyday. A few weeks ago, a student at my children’s school mysteriously died after being send home with a low grade fever and cold-like sympotms. They believed it was some type of virus and cleaned the school and told everyone to seek immediate medical care if they had any symptoms. I felt for the family and hugged my own kids a little closer. The next day, the school called me and asked to come and get my son and take him to the doctor becuase he had the same symptoms. I paniced a bit, but reminded myself that the symptoms didn’t mean anything. When I picked up my son, I focused on being fully present and savoring that moment with him. It turned out he had strep and was fine after a dose of antibiotics. It was not nearly so intense as your experience, but it was a reminder to be even more grateful and enjoy every minute I have with my kids.

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