Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018


One type of creativity cancels out another, so they say (actually, I just made that up, but it feels truthy), so in this month of ramped-up theatrical activity, I've done almost no writing. The resulting atrophy makes it difficult when something happens which I want to write about, such as the fact that on Monday the family doctor sent my 4yo to the emergency room down at Children's Hospital for a spinal tap to check for meningitis, but the Children's doctors diagnosed him as actually having a strained neck muscle and sent us home untapped.

How shall I write this up? As an inspirational tale of gratitude and relief ? But I don't feel all that grateful, and I was never all that worried about the possibility of meningitis in the first place. As a snarky account of sitting in the waiting room assaulted by an hour and a half of godforsaken Disney channel sound-stage sitcoms? That was pretty bad, actually, and I have all sorts of thoughts about the infantilization of the mind of the American child and the decay of dramatic and literary sense inspired by three episodes of Bunk'd. But I am already crabby (thank you, American political scene, and yes, I did vote), and this is not a subject upon which it would be too easy to wax sarcastic without the slightest leavening of charity, and in the glut of electioneering I do not need any more incentives to set charity aside.

Perhaps I can turn this into a wry post about how after 16 years of parenting I'd be chagrined to find that I can't tell a strained neck muscle from meningitis, except that apparently the family doctor can't either (a line I honed on Facebook, except that I was tired and added a year to my parenting count). Perhaps I can craft a rant about what if we didn't have the insurance to cover a what-if trip to the ER, except that we already wrote that post when the now 8yo was sent to the same ER for a skull fracture. (Note: I have very distinct memories of Darwin writing this post, but it appears nowhere in the archives. Maybe we only talked about it? Maybe it languishes in draft somewhere?)

As the 4yo finally made it back into triage, the nurse looked at him and said, "Oh, he is favoring one side of his neck." And as I noticed that too, I felt the first swellings of panic. What if there actually was something wrong, and I really couldn't tell? What if we were heading into some long ordeal with my poor little fellow? But both my head and my gut told me that he was going to be fine, and after a few hours, we were walking out with a heating pad and a negative strep test. Because yes, another sibling has strep -- that's why we were all at the doctor's office in the first place.

As I lay in bed Monday night, staring at the spot where my little Bible normally sits on my nightstand, I realized that I hadn't learned anything. Even though the day had been eventful, I was ending it almost exactly the same way as every other evening, with no sense of this day having been a particular gift, or having been spared the worst. Indeed, I wasn't even reaching for my Bible to read my nightly chapter, because I'd put my Bible in my purse when I wasn't sure how long I'd be at the ER. I contemplated how ungrateful I was that my general feeling that nothing serious was wrong with my son was confirmed, and how, in a world where people suffered for the Word of God, I couldn't even bring myself to walk downstairs to get my Bible. And then I rolled over and went to bed.

And God had mercy and did not call me to judgment in the middle of the night, but allowed me another day and another chance to recognize my many blessings and make a sacrifice of praise.

1 comment:

Julia said...

I think that sometimes God simply asks us to follow through without losing faith. One of my best friends once pointed out that during the passing through of the Red/Reed Sea, most of what was going on in the minds of the Israelites was that they were thinking about the hair on the head of the guy ahead of them. Gratitude doesn't always happen in the moment, and -- good grief! -- neither does insight. Sometimes it is enough to get through what you need to get through, and love God at the end of the day.

I am glad your guy is merely among those of us who tend toward being stiff-necked; it is a long lineage, Biblically speaking!