Caleb lies awake in his room, Faith watching over him while I take a breather from night duty. We’ve just sponged him with tepid water in an attempt to cool the fever. He endures the procedure, though he clearly hates it, muttering soft “I don’t want”s, his voice quivering as he shivers.
I’m barely able to hold myself together at this point, my heart shattering in a thousand pieces, crying out in anguished prayer for the suffering to be taken away from him. My faith flickers in the wind, believing that God knows what He’s doing, even though I do not.
These moments are real. Real in that they strip away the games we play; the facades we navigate as adults in a world we constructed. It is these moments we are left with nothing except a stark, pure, unadulterated look at life and its meaning, where thoughts find their utterance in prayer. Life in its raw form.
This is the real reason why we need children in our lives. Forget the economic argument or talk of lineage and continuance. There is nothing on earth more worthy of our protection, our most unselfish hopes and our self-sacrificial love than our children. In our very hearts it matters not if the children are mine or yours; they are ours, and the deeply engrained need to protect them from harm and nurture them to fullness is a universal one that unites us.
We live in a society steeped in the culture of competition, and its poison is seen all around us. It has tainted the value of hard work, and it has introduced many cracks in our society. Hierarchies such as social status, income levels have clouded our judgement; discrimination and xenophobia have become commonplace behaviours.
20 minutes ago as I curled up behind my boy, holding his hands and feet to keep them warm, nothing else mattered. As I left the room to catch some sleep he waved his little hand and managed a “bye bye”, his voice still trembling.