Sunday, February 13, 2011

Problems and the Law of Expandablity

Problems will expand to fill all the space we give them.  No matter how bad things get, we have to contain them.

It can be easy to look at the challenges we face and feel sorry for ourselves.  We all do it sometimes.  Heck, these days I look back on the things I worried about before my son's diagnosis and realized that I worried about many things that just didn't matter, silly stuff.  I realize now that our fears, anxieties and angers always expand to fill all the space that we give them.

If you are an engineer or scientist, you are familiar with property of expandability of gases.  By definition, a gas always expands to fill its entire container.  Problems are the same way.  I have a feeling that  we are all hardwired to worry a certain amount; that amount might be big or small but not always related to the size of our actual problems.

The moral of the story here is that do our best to put our problems in the smallest possible container we can in our lives.  Unconstrained, those problems will consume the entirety of our being.

We can always look at our situation and say NOW I have real problems.  I still haven't learned my lesson because I am tempted to do that even now. 

My son is three years old and he has been diagnosed with a fatal genetic disorder called Sanfilippo Syndrome.  We have met many new friends in the last month that are enduring the same agony that we face.  Many have it worse.  They have multiple children that have inherited the same genetic defect.

Reed Visting Aziza at School

Thinking more deeply, we are are truly lucky.  Our beautiful daughter Aziza is unaffected.  She is a wonderful sister and has always been so giving to her little brother.  We have always known that he was a demanding child, one that consumed a disproportionate amount of our attention.

This awful disease that is damaging Reed's brain will teach her so many lessons.  Maybe I should learn more from her.  I should learn to savor every moment the way she does.

If you want to real a truly inspiring message, check out Simon Ibell's web site.  He is an adult Hunter Syndrome patient.  Reading his material and talking to him over the last month has help me keep things in perspective.

"To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk exposing our true self. To place our ideas-our dreams-before the crowd is to risk loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk despair. To try is to risk failure. To live is to risk dying." ~Anonymous


  1. I've been following the plight of my friends, Matt, Shannon, Waverly and Oliver McNeil for the past few years and always come away with deep feelings of enormous lessons and truths of life...

    Today, reading what you wrote above about putting problems in their proper perspective, sent me back many years to this same piece of universal truth I had encountered elsewhere.

    To recognize that, impossible as it may seem, even your pain can be contained, is an important act of humility, love, selflessness, all the virtues coming together in harmony the way a perfect human being would be if it were possible for us to be so...

    And then a brutal realization came to me of how the horrid thing that happens to these children is making better people out of everyone who comes in contact with them directly or indirectly. They force all of us to see life and our roles from a universal perspective...

    They are making the world a better place by sacrifice - they are giving their lives for ours. The biggest Love of all.

  2. To the previous poster, thank you. Your comment is inspiring.