This teenager is wise beyond her years as she reminds us all to appreciate the good things around us.
The other day I read in the “Good News” section of the newspaper (Corriere Buone Notizie) a moving personal story. A young 18-year-old girl from Padua named Francesca Marangoni originally shared the experience on Facebook.
Marangoni’s attitude is very refreshing. She doesn’t focus on complaining about the anxieties caused by the pandemic, complaining and seeing the glass half empty. Instead, this young woman chooses to look at the beauty that can be found even in the midst of difficulty—a lesson that her grandfather transmitted to her.
Recently, Francesca experienced illness and hospitalization for the first time, under COVID restrictions, because of appendicitis. She recounted on Facebook her misadventure that, despite her initial loneliness and fear, turned out to be an important life experience.
Alone, with her family unable to visit her because of pandemic restrictions, Francesca struggled at first with loneliness and melancholy. Yet this hard time blessed her with a new awareness of how lucky she is to be healthy. She wrote,
In these recent days I was very sick. Something like this had never happened to me before, and I can say that I have spent the most difficult days of my life (short as it is). In times of COVID, being hospitalized is really hard, because the only thing that could lift your spirits—that is, visits from people you know—are forbidden. You’re alone, isolated and you feel a bit abandoned. I would like to sincerely thank all those who, with a call, a thought, or a message, have never let me feel lonely, but loved. From this experience I’ve learned so much, and more than anything I’d like to share the awareness I now have of the value of health.
The importance of being grateful
Marangoni cautions against complaining. Besides being a waste of time, complaining keeps us from seeing the good things. We focus only on what’s missing or what is not as we want it to be. She wrote,
Not being able to be self-sufficient at age 18 is a blow. As my dear grandfather teaches me, we must always look for something good, even in the bad. So I invite those who are reading to be grateful. To be grateful for what they have, whether it be a lot or a little, to be grateful for health, family, friends, and opportunities and to enjoy it all. We don’t have the luxury of wasting time in lamentations, as time is not given back to us.
“In the dark there’s always some light.”
The hospital experience was a test of maturity for Francesca. Her most intense memory from that time is a simple cry. Among the sounds of the suffering of the sick, she says, she particularly remembers hearing a newborn baby.
The baby’s cries manifested its attachment to life. The strong, intrepid cry shook her out of her focus on her own suffering. It reminded her that “in the dark there is always a little light”.
… (B)y living a few days in the hospital I was able to experience real pain. I could hear the screams of suffering coming from the rooms close to where I was waiting to be visited. Therefore, I would like to dedicate a thought to the sick, the suffering and the ill. In the midst of these shrill cries, one in particular stuck in my mind. I was in the gynecology ward and the owner of this shout, more like a cry, was a newborn baby who wanted to shout to the world that he was here, and that he’d made it. It was a touching moment for me to hear it, the only thing that managed to distract me for a few seconds from what I was experiencing, as if to remind me that in the dark there is always a little light.
Marangoni’s thanks to those who treated her
The girl, a passionate gymnast, is grateful. She realizes that she is fortunate to be alive, to have been cared for and treated with professionalism and kindness by the medical staff.
Now that she’s at home and healthy, thinking back to those five long days spent at the hospital, she has realized how much commitment, work, and professionalism the doctors and healthcare workers dedicate to their patients. She expresses all her gratitude:
I’d like to say a thousand thanks to these people. Thanks to the doctors, those who visited me in the emergency room and those who operated on me; thanks, because you found the cause of my pain and solved it. Thank you nurses, because with your patience and motherly care you made me feel almost at home, fulfilling my every request always with a smile under the mask. Thank you staff, because on the first night I arrived, you accompanied me and transported me several times from one department to another, keeping my mind occupied with a few words. Thank you to the staff who every morning faithfully cleaned my room silently, to allow me to sleep a little longer. And thanks to all those who are part of this environment, even if I have not mentioned you in particular.
Messages like these are indeed light in the darkness. We could easily be tempted to focus on the difficulties that the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it, to complain and lament.
Francesca reminds us that there is always hope. New life is constantly asserting itself, and there are countless people all over the world dedicating their lives to sustain, protect, cure, and promote life, now more than ever.
Like Francesca, let us be thankful. Let’s do what we can to contribute to shining the light of hope and faith with our own love, work, and gratitude.