Migrated from Blogger – original post November 7, 2007

“Ten percent of the quality of your life is based on what happens to you and 90 percent on how you respond to what happens to you.” – Total Life Coaching

When I read the opening quote in my ongoing Life Coach studies I experienced what I like to call an “A-Ha!” moment. I immediately turned to my computer, typed in the phrase and then tried desperately to make an entry out of it. Nothing felt right; I would type away for a while, and then just keep hitting the Delete button. Two long days passed and I was growing frustrated.

It was important, this quote, and I wanted everyone to read it and really stew over it a little bit. After all, as Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Butt wasn’t until I received an email back from a new mother thanking me for my thoughtfulness that I knew I had the example I had been looking for.

Sometimes things happen that just take us down, lay us out flat, and then give us a few hard kicks in the head and heart for good measure.

I know a young couple, sweet as can be, upbeat, new in the area, and eagerly expecting the arrival of their first child. The wife was a business contact, but since I’m totally baby-oriented now, having my 13-month-old in my life and reminding me daily of how precious new life is, I sent her a friendly, informal email around her due date just checking in. When I didn’t hear back for several days I wasn’t surprised, I assumed correctly that she was in the hospital. What I didn’t expect was the email she sent verifying that yes, the baby was in the world, but to everyone’s surprise, had been born with Down’s syndrome.

I read the email and cried. I looked over at my toddler playing happily away in my home office and cried some more. And even though I’m not a very religious person, the thought came, “And there for God’s grace, go I.”

I cannot imagine having a child with Down’s syndrome. I think of my family with our big, long multi-syllable words, our writing, our creativity, and our strong emphasis on intelligence and independence. I take it all in and think, “How in the world would I manage?”

I could not bear to say those words “I’m sorry”, which really meant nothing and would have helped even less. I wrote her an email, “You will hear many people tell you how sorry they are for you, and eventually it will just become words that mean nothing, for no one can truly understand the road ahead of you unless they have walked it themselves, so I will not say them myself.”

I went on to say, “We cannot help but love our children, and no child is perfect, but all children are blessings nonetheless. They fill us with such a ferocious love, joy and sense of fulfillment that it cannot be expressed adequately in words.

Be patient with yourself as your body heals, and give your daughter the love that is in your heart and stay strong. That’s all that any of us can do.”

Although I still cannot imagine having a child with Down’s, I know in my heart that I would rise to the occasion if I were faced with it. Because in the end, it truly is that 90% of quality of life that falls to how you respond to life’s events.

Each of us has within us the infinite capacity for change, for growth, and for overcoming adversity. I hope you take a moment and re-affirm to yourself just how strong you are inside. If you do, and if you believe as I do, you will know that anything that you can conceive and dream of for your life is possible.