HOPE in the face of challenges!

HOPE bestows strength and courage when all else has failed! When we face challenging situations in our lives we go through a “WHY ME PHASE? I have been facing my biggest challenge through my son, Parag’s autism! During my why me phase, I was totally lost and lonely. I would ask God “why me?” Now I know it is a natural reaction to feel anger, hurt and pain during this time of our lives. What is not healthy is to be stuck in this phase forever. In my case my belief in the POWER OF PRAYER, helped me get out of this phase faster. During this time of my life I used to pray regularly and incessantly and one day while I was praying this voice spoke to me and said, “Parag has Autism, are you going to mope, cry and sulk or do something about it?” In that moment, I realized that I had to face Parag’s Autism, no matter what! Now the choice was mine HOW I WAS GOING TO FACE IT? “Choosing to face autism head on gave me an extraordinary courage (Book: Autism: Our Journey and Finding Happiness, chapter: Parag’s diagnosis and my cleansing, page-15).”

HOW DO I SEE HOPE?

I see myself climbing a very steep mountain holding Parag’s hand and praying for a rescue helicopter! That rescue helicopter has not shown up yet, but the climb continues. If I find it, the climb will become easy but If I don’t and reach the pinnacle, I will celebrate that I could climb all the way up all by myself! However, in this climb I never give up HOPE- THE HELICOPTER!

The journey could be very hard like walking on burning sand in a desert, but we have to BELIEVE that if we go on walking we will find an OASIS. Once we find that oasis we should know how to REST, REJUVINATE AND CELEBRATE! Then the journey continues because the seeker needs the ANSWER! HOPE is the BELIEF that in the journey we will FIND another oasis and we continue until we FIND one, again recharge and move forward!

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS EXTRAORDINARY CHALLENGE?

I think of Alchemy! Through this challenge God is converting me from a baser metal to the purest form of Gold! “Before I could help Parag and my family, I had to first rise from my own ashes, like Phoenix and discard all the negativity, anger, guilt to myself and others. I had to evolve from my “Why me phase?” (Chapter: Parag’s diagnosis and my cleansing, Page-15).” Facing Parag’s Autism has made me resilient. I have learned to bend like a bamboo tree. I must adjust, adapt and grow! It is very hard to kill a bamboo tree. It teaches me to NOT JUST SURVIVE BUT THRIVE!

BEARING MY CROSS!

One day in my meditative state of mind a thought came that even God had to bear his own cross and Simon who helped him for a while was a big respite. This thought made me realize that my symbolic cross is Autism and I must carry it with all my might and should be very THANKFUL to the help that I receive in finding respite through people who are willing to relieve me of my burden even for a bit! It has gradually made me a very thankful person because I can both see and count my blessings!

WHAT IS HOPE AND HOW CAN WE BECOME HOPEFUL?

HOPE IS NOT GIVING UP OR GIVING IN while searching of an ANSWER! HOPE makes us take that FIRST STEP FORWARD. That first step is crucial because it makes us shed inertia/inactivity! Gradually we gather momentum in our quest for knowledge and wisdom. To become hopeful, first we have to go through intense CLEANSING! Once we accept our challenges, get rid of negativity and inculcate a thankful heart we become resilient and then we start to metamorphose into the purer, better and then best version of ourselves. Alfred Tennyson’s poem Ulysses sums up HOPE beautifully, “To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”

Parag made this to celebrate Autism Month-April!