Optimism is defined as a general disposition to expect the best in all things. In my school days my teachers used to tell us the ornamental adage, “If winter is there spring cannot be far behind” to explain how good days always follow the bad ones. My father used to tell me often that even the darkest cloud has a silver lining. So one should never be perturbed if confronted with some trouble in life as nothing is permanent in this world. Like any other teenager I grew up reading or listening to stories of triumph and success. And I developed an attitude to look at the ,half filled portion of the glass’ and hope for the best in every situation.
But one’s actual ability to remain optimistic is challenged when one faces real ordeals in life. And very few, no matter how positive their outlook may be, can really stand their ground in trying situations.
Such a situation arose in my life a few years back which devastated my soul; my whole world crumpled putting me in a fretful voyage of life. I was drowning in the abysmal ditch of uncertainty with a negative stream of consciousness engulfing me in toto. I was not aware of my own activities and was scampering all around the Hospital like a lunatic. My 13 year daughter who was diagnosed with blood cancer was lying motionless in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore and I was not permitted to go near her.
“Mr Sahoo, Please co-operate and be calm. I can understand your state of mind. I know your child is passing through the worst phase of her life. Rest assured we will leave no stone unturned to save her life.” Dr David assured me outside the PICU. But the stream of tears oozing out of my eye lids was unstoppable. The barrier of positivity blocking my traumatic emotions had been shattered beyond imagination. “What can I do doctor”, I asked with a trembling choked voice, “to save my daughter?” “Nothing”, avered Dr David, “whatever is humanly possible we are doing that. But your child needs more than mere human effort. You just pray.” Then the phlegmatic doctor hurriedly went inside the ICU leaving me all alone to comfort myself.
I had always been regarded as a mentally strong individual who remained calm in any adverse situation. But at that moment I felt as if there was no strength left in my limbs, my thought process had permanently stopped. I had never felt so helpless at any time in my life so far. ‘You just pray’. These three words of Dr David resounded in my mind and quite unconsciously I dragged my inert legs to the Chapel attached to the hospital. It was past midnight by then. Only two or three people were sitting there. I ensconced myself on one of the front benches and stared blankly at the holy cross in front of me. “Why my innocent daughter, my Lord? If I have committed any sin I should have been punished. Why are you giving so much of excruciating pain to my child who is yet to know what sin is. She has just entered into her teens and has not yet tasted the bounties of life. Why have you relegated her to the verge of her life’s end? Are you trying to test my faith in you?” The questions in my tempestuous mind were manifold. I did not know when sleep took charge of my tired limbs and my shattered soul.
I felt as if somebody was tapping on my shoulder. My eyes were still closed and I was in a semi conscious state. “Don’t worry, everything will be alright. Nothing will happen to your daughter. Have faith.” I awoke with a startle. I rubbed my eyes and looked around. I could see nobody around me. There was just one person at the farthest corner of the chapel taking a nap. I ran out of the chapel but could not find anybody. I looked at my watch. It was past 3.30 AM. I was really surprised. Who tapped on my shoulders then? Who told me not to worry?? I was really confused. Was I dreaming? But I could vividly remember the touch on my shoulder. I was feeling much fresher now. My limbs were active. I was able to think logically. I could recall all activities of the fateful evening. Who gave me back all my physical and mental strength? Did God himself come to console me?
Whatever it might have been I could see a ray of hope. I felt sincerely that my little daughter would survive. My mind got cleared of all negative feelings. I remembered an old saying, ‘If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it then I can definitely achieve it.’
I ran to the ICU. Dr David was still there. He greeted me with a smile. “Mr Sahoo, she is responding well now. Although she is still not fully conscious we can now give her a 50-50 chance. There is nothing much to worry now. We are hopeful that she will pull through.” My faith in the Almighty had finally been restored. Now in retrospect I believe that my God had come to reassure me when I was totally broken. Faith is the ultimate source of never ending optimism. If you have faith nothing in this world is unachievable.
P.S. Needless to say my daughter did pull through after seven days of relentless treatment and came out of ICU. She did combat cancer and I believe she owes her ‘second’ life to The Almighty and the dedicated doctors of CMC, Vellore.
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