Tribolum.com Making Light of Things

Whose line is it anyway

Anne is quite ill. She has been for a couple of days.

When Tolkien wrote about elves, and how immortal as they were, they were vulerable to grief, some even dying from it. He must have meant to describe a sick child’s cry, because there is no sound that rends the heart more deeply. It is the tearing up of your insides in what feels like an infinite loop.

Just when Anne almost collapses from the exhaustion of crying, she coughs herself awake and the crying starts anew. Then there’s the violent coughing that results in her throwing up. She doesn’t speak yet but every fibre of your being knows she is in pain.

And my reaction is to blame everyone for it. To the elderly aunties in church who might have passed her the virus, to the numerous children she meets at the playground who may have coughed in her presence. To the doctor, who said that she was fine but she clearly isn’t. To all our parents who take care of her during the day who may not have washed their hands after coughing in them, and the damn weather for being as hot as it is, to God who could stop all this suffering in an instant but chooses not to. To Faith, who being inexperienced at parenting, may have handled the whole sickness thing wrongly. And ultimately me, for being as powerless as I am, unable to do anything but blame everyone for everything that has ever happened.

It is anyone’s fault but Anne’s. It is everyone’s fault but Anne’s. She did nothing to deserve this.

Then she falls asleep, almost as soon as my mind was about to go into round 2 of the blame game. The ingrate in me wonders how long it will be before she coughs, but she doesn’t. Somehow I’m too proud to thank God for the reprieve from a situation that need not have ever been.

The last two nights have shown me how small I am - in two senses of the word. Small - as in powerless to affect even the smallest of change in the smallest of persons; and small - as in petty and selfish. I do not know where I stand upon this crossroad, or where choosing to depend upon God will lead. Or if it’d change the utterly shallow faith I have.

I’m just glad she’s asleep.

Thank God. I hope to mean it more than a cry of relief from exasperation. But it probably isn’t very much more, little man that I am.