Answering these questions is turning into a contemplation of anatta, the Buddhist concept of no self. There is no “Me” that can be summed up succinctly in a couple of paragraphs.
I can tell you about the Me who was raised in the Unitarian Universalist church, deep in conservative Christian Texas, and how I gradually came to identify myself as an atheist and then a Buddhist (it is possible to be both, by the way). There is the pediatrician-Me who went to medical school and is now the nemesis of small children everywhere. And, then there is the Momma-Me with two daughters, one of whom has a genetic disorder characterized by severe epilepsy, developmental delays, and autism. My other daughter is a teenager, which is almost more challenging.
By the time I finish describing the various factors that have come together to create the entity I call self, I will have written an entire autobiography rather than a single blog page. And, I won’t have addressed the second question: Why am I writing this blog?
How does one handle the grief, anger, and despair that frequently arise when watching a child suffer? Many parents I know rely on their faith in God and their local religious community to cope with the enormous burdens associated with raising a disabled child. As an atheist, I am not comforted by the idea that God has a bigger plan for me. Instead, I have found the practice of insight meditation (Vipassana) to be of great benefit. I created this blog as a means to deepen my exploration of the Buddha’s teachings and share my experiences with others affected by similar catastrophic life stressors.
May the benefit of my practice serve to alleviate the suffering of all beings, everywhere.