February 20, 2021
by Jennifer Lendvai-Lintner
You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and the best you have to give.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Sitting in the hospital one morning absently scrolling social media, I discovered this guidepost from Eleanor Roosevelt. My four-month-old daughter Hilde was in the midst of a frustrating, long, troubling hospitalization. These words stopped me dead. They have become a guiding light in this journey with my daughter’s rare disease.
Hilde spent nearly a quarter of her first year hospitalized. There are times on this rare journey when I have thought it will surely break us. I’ve said those frightening words out loud. There are moments the only prayer I can muster through clenched teeth is a staccato Help. Us. Our future has no textbook to follow, no map to guide. How can one survive in a perpetual state of unknowing?
Eleanor Roosevelt knew. I had to accept.
I’ve found it happens little by little, not all at once. The smallest actions are truly big ones in the end. But make no mistake — I choose to accept. You see, choosing acceptance is my act of courage. Acceptance allows me to soften into our world and into the uncertainty that is part of a journey like this. Uncertainty is part of every journey; ours is just made more plain.
On their own choice and acceptance are a powerful team. But when these two are laced with faith, that’s when mountains move. I accept what is, while moving forward convicted that no matter what comes, this life is good. God is good. In fact, that’s a nuance of the word accept. Yes, it means to agree, but it also means to believe in the goodness, realness of something. Even when it is impossibly hard. Even in heartbreak. Even in those moments when I feel utterly lost and broken, when exhaustion is bone-crushing on every level. Even in those dark moments, I believe. Choosing acceptance is how I maintain a pinch grip on this rocky climb. And in this choice, I meet each moment courageously and with my best.
There are times when my best is fighting big battles for our daughter. Mostly, my best is more simple, but no less spectacular. It’s standing and breathing. It’s loving. It’s a sweet lullaby sung cheek pressed to cheek. It’s the warmest, most tender care that imparts, “You are perfect. You are cherished.” Despite its challenges —maybe because of them— this life is so good.
My courageous best is choosing to remain firmly planted in acceptance, the belief in goodness, no matter what. It’s my solid ground, so I can remain fluid in the storms — resilient.
It’s the only important thing.
It’s the best I have to give.