This was the one time that I thought I knew exactly what I would be writing about. My pilgrimage to the Buddhist sites in India with Shantum Seth and Bernie Glassman was scheduled for the month of January. I was then going to Plum Village where I would digest the trip and have some very wise insights to share with all of you.
So instead of going to India, I spent those three weeks nursing my very sick daughter -- icing her down when her fever got too high, taking her to daily doctor visits, changing the wound dressing and the sheets, and doing the laundry. And I slowly realized that I was indeed on a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place in a foreign land, and in this case the fragility of my daughter's life was the sacred place. The foreign land was my complete presence and care.
What was different about this was that, since I was supposed to be away, my calendar for the month of January was completely and entirely empty. I literally had nothing to do except take care of my daughter. Once I realized that the India trip was not going to happen, I gave up and let go. If this was what I was supposed to be doing, then I would do it completely. Each morning, often after several night-time wakings, I got up and made a green smoothie to go with my daughter's breakfast of cereal, apple, and vitamins, and I brought it to her in bed. We then planned outings for the day, to keep her active and positive, starting with simple car trips to Bethesda, and culminating in walking several miles each day and taking a day trip to New York. In between outings we rested, watched old movies, visited the doctor, and monitored the healing of her body and her wound.