Thursday, December 17, 2009
Midnight in an Imperfect World
I think I finally understand the notion of God.
Maybe we each create the benevolent force that he or she deserves. If this is true, then it would explain my lack of faith, and my lack of faith, in turn, would explain my lack of need for faith at this point. Whether there's a personal divinity or one omnipotent force paying careful attention to our trials and traumas, listening intently for our desperate entreatments, I know that it gave up on me years ago. I realize that it's much too late for me.
But I also know that it's not too late for my child.
And that's why a short time ago, as I pulled my little girl close to my chest after running to her bedside and picking her up while she coughed, over and over and over again, her tiny body heaving as she tried to catch her breath, I silently begged someone, something, for help. Not for me, but for her. I stood, rocking her back and forth gently, trying to calm her, to get her breathing clearly and steadily again, to ease the terror that I saw in her eyes. I don't have the luxury of concerning myself with the terror in my own in moments like these, I suppose.
I sat down on the couch, allowed her to lay flat on my chest and stomach, wrapping her arms around me, her head finally resting under my chin. And I just held her for close to an hour. I spend so much time declaring to myself and anyone willing to listen how entirely my heart breaks at the prospect of not spending every single moment of my daughter's young life at her side, witnessing every accomplishment great and small and providing a sense of security that she would never once have to doubt or question. I realized as I clutched her small body in my arms that it was this that I had sworn, to be there not simply during the times when her boundless energy and radiant smile fill me with immeasurable joy, but when her suffering leaves me feeling as scared and helpless as she is.
Inara was born into a world in which she'll never know a father, her father, living with her in the same home. More than anything I've experienced in my life, this knowledge is a source of singularly searing agony. What once seemed like the simplest of circumstances to hope for, the most fundamental and unpretentious thing I would ever want, turned out to be the most elusive. If I dared to pray to that benevolent being on behalf of myself, my one desperate desire, it would do no good, and I know it.
Inara is now back in her bed. I'm still awake.