Its mid-day and our 5 month, youngest daughter Libby just woke from her afternoon nap. As is her custom, her face lit up as soon as she saw someone coming to rescue her from her life of boredom in her crib. As my hands lifted her to my face, so I could shower her with a series of kisses and hugs, her breathing changed. She started gasping for air and choking on her own breath. She could exhale, but was suddenly lost the ability to inhale. Time stood still and my mind searched for help and my heart pounded in my chest. I did everything I could think of, patting her back, raising her arms and trying to remind her little lungs what their job was. Seconds later she took one big gasp and started to cry. It was the first time I rejoiced at her tears.
As time restarted and life began anew in walked Libby’s 5 year old sister Ella. Where she was during the struggle I did not know, but as soon as Libby saw Ella, her crying ceased and she completely calmed down. Ella gently touched her little sister’s cheek and whipped away her tears. She kissed her on the forehead and said to me, “Daddy I prayed for her”. I replied rather callously, still focused elsewhere, “Great Ella.” She said as soon as she saw something was wrong with Libby she ran to her room and started to pray for her. As my equilibrium came back I realized the incredible thing that just happened that I almost missed. As I was struggling to control the situation and take matters into my own hands, my five year old, much wiser daughter knew the only thing she could do was run to the only person who has ever had the ability to heal someone. How foolish of me. Who installed the respiratory system in Libby? Who taught her lungs how to work? Who created air to give life to her fragile body? Who keeps the world spinning in orbit and numbered the few hairs on her head? Who am I to try to control anything?
What does it take for me to live like Ella and run to my room, bury my head in my pillow and pray? How do I make it as immediate as it was for her, not an after thought or a formality? How do I remember that I am not a grown man, but instead a child in the lap of an infinite Father?
Forgive me Father for not resting in your arms and not listening when you say, “everything’s going to be o.k.”.