Don’t Look Back. Look Around. - Christine Kane

My friends Kurt and Julie are dealing with an incredible challenge right now. Their beautiful daughter was diagnosed with leukemia a few months ago. Their lives have turned around, and they find themselves on a most unexpected path.

Julie sends updates regularly. This week, she wrote something that made me catch my breath. The simplicity and wisdom of this one statement is not just – as she remembers – about being homesick. It applies to everything, absolutely everything in our lives. From the death of a pet to losing a job to the illness of a child to waking up each morning.

Here’s what she wrote:

The outpatient clinic is a new experience for us but is a good opportunity to see other families and their children who are in different stages of this process. I was reminded of some advice that I was given when Kurt and I were in South Africa years ago.

A friend told me: “If you start to feel homesick, remember, don’t look back at what you had, but rather look around.” Looking around the 4th floor of Children’s Hospital allows me to appreciate where we are and not pine for where we were a few months ago. It is with that attitude that we try to gear up for our inevitable return to the hospital.

Take a second today to look around and recognize the beauty, the challenge, the glory that is there, right now, right this instant. Then, say Thank You.

  • Liz Curtin

    Christine, I would add to your beautiful and touching words,

    STOP: S-Stop, T-Take a Breath, O-Observe, P-Proceed.

    A friend has this on her business card and I love it. I’m not sure where it comes from but it helps me when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

    Best wishes to Julie and Kurt and their daughter. Liz

  • cindy

    Thoughts and prayers to Kurt and Julie. With my experiences from a sick child years ago, and a sick grandchild just two years ago, I can say how important that attitude will be. Support from those that know and love you and the support from strangers that also love and support you in anonymity will help carry us along through the toughest, darkest times. Even when we can’t pray any more, there are those that will do it for us. May the collective spirit of healing and love surround this family and help carry them along.

  • sarah

    true words – they made me cry.

  • Mary Jo (Sam) Ramsey


    Isn’t it wonderful that that the Lord puts people in our paths that can really enrich us and give us such beautiful insights! And I find it interesting that often these are people facing difficult transitions in their lives. I work with young children and in the future, when I feel like I am having a bad day, I will indeed just look around at the wonder before me. I will also, at the same time, whisper a little prayer for your friends and their little angel. Yes, there IS prayer in school.
    Sam R.

  • Dawn

    Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing that hard-won wisdom.

  • Giulietta Nardone

    Thank you for this post Christine. Love what your friends say about looking around. I’m sending their little daughter virtual health wishes. Muse thx, Giulietta

  • Fiona Purdy

    Thank you for stopping me in my tracks – bless you Christine.

  • T Mann

    My thoughts, prayers, and good vibes are with Julie, Kurt, and their daughter. Please thank them and thank-you for sharing this post which came to me at a perfect time. My thoughts are also with the everyone else here as well. Have a blessed day.

  • Mindful Mimi

    Since I am following your uplevel course I say thank you every day ^- for big things and small ones. My cousin is in the same situation as your friends and she sends regular reports via email as well. I send her lots of love and good karma back. And I am doing the same for your friends. They have the right spirit for whatever life throws at them. God bless.

  • Lisa

    First, I want Kurt and Julie to know that my thoughts and prayers are with their daughter and them. I cannot imagine a more sobering circumstance. I appreciate them allowing you to share their daughters illness with us.

    Secondly, Christine this drives home again that each moment in time is all we have and if we are not present we have in fact lost the spectacular gift of living ech moment fully conscious or “wide awake”!

    Thank you for the gift of your writing.



  • Marnie Gordon

    Thanks, Christine – for sharing this story, and such a beautiful sentiment. This is a very important reminder for us all, regardless of where we find ourselves today.


  • Jodi at Joy Discovered

    “Don’t look back. Look around” — what a great line to keep us on track! Thank you for sharing this, and blessings to your friends and their daughter.

  • Positively Present

    It’s so important to live in the present moment and that’s what this post reminds me of. Don’t look back — we cannot go back to the past — but, instead, look around. What a great sentiment! Thank you for sharing it here!

  • Christine Kane

    Thank you everyone! I’ll be sure to point Julie and Kurt to all of your great thoughts!

  • Pamir | Reiki Help Blog

    Serious illness of a family member especially your child is devastating but not hopeless. Many blessings for this family…

    “Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” -James Thurber

  • Lu

    What a moving message today. I am praying for your friends and their daughter. May they be blessed as they go through this journey and may they have unwavering faith that everything is going to be just fine.

  • Lynne

    Just wanted to say thank you (and Julie!) for such profound words (that will translate into profound action!), and to send my best wishes and prayers to your friends Julie and Kurt, and their daughter.

    If your friends Julie and Kurt are reading this — I just wanted to share one little tidbit of an observation that might make them feel a little bit better. Years ago, I used to do volunteer work at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. I was an official “baby rocker” in the neonatal intensive care unit (my job was basically to calm down and rock whichever babies were crying the loudest in the nursery!). One of the things that I was continually struck by was how quickly — and how often — very seriously ill children recovered completely. The resilience of children is astonishing, and it is my most profound wish that Julie and Kurt, too, will bask in the wonder of how quickly the healing process can occur.

  • sue

    Great thought for today and for everyday. Reorients my perspective immediately. Sending love and healing to Kurt, Julie and their daughter.

  • Lance

    Thank you. And thank you as well to Julie for sharing this.

    What we have is NOW. Not yesterday, and not tomorrow. And I love the message, one of really being in the moment…no matter what that moment happens to be.

    Kurt and Julie, if you’re reading this – know that I wish you and especially your daughter only the best going forward, and that through it all – whatever it brings – that you find peace and comfort.

  • Julie

    Please send my best wishes to Julie and Kurt – such a powerful post, thank you Christine.

  • TracyWall

    For the past month, I’ve been in the process of pulling myself up from a personal struggle, and this message could not have come at a better time.
    Thank you!

  • Jesann

    Good luck to Julie, Kurt, and their daughter. Thanks for posting this, Christine.

  • Elaine

    Wow… Great post – this really does apply to everything – ‘thank you’

  • Rhiannon

    Hi Christine – what a great reminder for any stage of life. I can think of so many situations where this would help to move the excess “stuff” out of the way. I think I’ll make myself a little card with this one.
    Best wishes to your friends – more thoughts coming from over the ocean for them.

    ( And funny to be posting right below Amy – who I haven’t met yet, but hope I will soon).

  • Meg

    Christine and all, I send Kurt and Julie and their little girl all of the love, strength and health-spirit I can muster.

    Childhood Leukemia is tough on kids and their families. And there are amazing stories of success and triumph out there, too. A way we can many help families dealing with Leukemia is to join the Bone Marrow Donor Registry. All it takes is a cotton swab of the mouth, and through the non-profit DKMS and their partner she-knows (, it is FREE. They will mail the kit to you and test your sample at no cost. If a match is found, most of the time the donation process is as simple as giving blood.

    If you are interested in sponsoring a donor drive, that’s really easy, too. A few months ago, I organized a donor drive with Mike Guglielmo, whose son Giovanni, is a living miracle and poster child for hope, and his wife is a poster-mom for strength. ( It’s amazing how many people are willing to help when asked. If I can be so bold, consider yourself asked 🙂

    My family has been touched by Leukemia. What got us through was faith and the kindness of family, friends & strangers. Whether you say a prayer for this family, or take some other action in their interest, it all helps them and many others. Thanks in advance for sending positive energy to a family who can use it!

  • amypalko

    What a beautifully poignant post, Christine. And you’re right – that advice could apply to any moment in life. Valuing the present without pining for the past or longing for the future can be incredibly difficult, but by noticing the details, the seemingly small and insignificant, it becomes possible to ground oneself in the now.

    Lots of love & best wishes to your friends. I’ll be sending them good thoughts.

  • pati

    Thank you, CK!