“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves — regret for the past and fear of the future” -Fulton Oursler
I had a lovely chat with Julian Fraser on this week’s IC show. We talked about everything from how the Principles helped him overcome his anger, losing over 100 lbs, and serving as the 3PUK conference director since 2011. The topic that touched me the most was when Julian shared how coming across the Principles had helped him navigate the challenges of raising a child with special needs.
Julian’s life was turned upside down eighteen years ago, with the birth of this second child, Hasya. What started as a day full of anticipation and excitement to meet the newest member of his expanding family quickly turned into tragedy. A mistake made by a midwife during his wife’s labor resulted in his daughter suffering a prolonged period of fetal distress. When Hasya came into the world, she was purple and lifeless. For ten long minutes, they tried to resuscitate her. Eventually, she started to breathe, but unfortunately, the damage was done. Hasya’s brain had been starved of oxygen, and she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
The doctors were unable to determine the extent of Hasya’s brain injury and give Julian the answers he was seeking. Understandably, as any father would, Julian’s mind went into overdrive. Fear of what Hasya’s future would hold overwhelmed him. He was flooded by questions such as, “Is she going to be able to walk? Is she going to be able to talk? Is she going to be able to feed herself? Is she going to be able to get married and have kids of her own?
As engulfing as his fears were, Julian had the awareness to see that his suffering was coming from his thinking. Even though the outer circumstances remained the same, his daughter had suffered irreparable brain damage. He recognized that his suffering increased whenever he found himself thinking about the future, then subsided when he returned to the present moment.
Wanting to be a supportive husband to his wife and the best father to his children, Julian knew he had no other option than to stay present to what was. Of course, this didn’t change the prognosis of what lay ahead for them as a family. But it did help them suffer less and to show up more fully to life and each other. These days Julian takes each day as it comes. He doesn’t waste time thinking about the past and how things could have been different. Instead, Julian lives in the present moment, embracing his life and family as a loving husband and father to his five children.
Julian’s story is the perfect example of what little control we have over what challenges life brings us. The only power we have is how we choose to respond to those challenges. When we allow ourselves to be engulfed by our fears of the future, we innocently miss the richness of the life that lies right in front of us.
How many of us get lost in a thought-created future that may never materialize? We innocently hand over what precious time we have worrying about things that may never occur. None of us know what the future holds or how long we are going to be on the planet. For me, I want to be fully present, soaking up every moment as if it was my last.
With love and appreciation, Del 💕