This I believe. Once in awhile, God smiles at me.
Aside from my marriage, my life revolves around two things, my work on the fire department, and trying to have a baby. Both of these things are highly stressful, physically demanding, heart wrenching, and exhausting. I give it my all on each and every call I go on with the guys I work with. Often, no matter how hard I work, how good I am, how hard I try, there is ruin after a call, homes ruined, lives ruined, or even life lost. And each cycle I have, I spend all my hope that the sperm will somehow find my egg and 37 weeks later, I’ll finally have the child I so want. After years of trying, I’m still childless. It’s easy for me to become depressed, hopeless, and jaded. People do stupid things. They get drunk, get into their car, and end up killing a pregnant mother. They party in the woods and end up burning down the mountain. They turn around and their child dies in his sleep. And me, there must be some inherent flaw. Why am I not able to conceive a child? It’s not fair.
Once in awhile though, God smiles at me. Take for example, the call we had a few weeks ago. Respond to the second house on the left for a 3 year old child involved in a drowning accident. I read my pager and my heart sank. I snapped into action, my thoughts were clear. Time was sharp. Lights. Siren. Left at the light. Drive fast. Time is critical. Stupid drivers! Pull over for my fire truck. There’s a child dying! When I arrived on scene, I found the child, limp and cold on the living room floor of his parents’ home. He was lying on a wet towel. There was water all over the floor. His father was pushing his own breath into the child’s lungs. I could see the panic in the eyes of the child’s silent and very pregnant mother as she stood there, watching us work on her precious blue boy. We worked so hard we were sweating. We worked as a team, one cohesive unit. We knew what we were doing. Oxygen. Suction. What’s his oxygen saturation? Someone check his capillary refill. Frantic we were, for the life of this child. And then, God smiled at me. The child took a breath – all on his own. And then he took another. Since the boy was hypothermic, and the best way to warm somebody who is so cold is against warm dry skin, I ripped off my shirt and scooped up the still limp body of this small boy. I held him against me, feeling his every breath on my skin while my fellow firefighters wrapped us in blankets. The ambulance came, loaded the family, and headed to the hospital. They told us we’d done a good job. I felt happy. Later that week, God smiled at me again. I saw this child with his father, running, happy, and 100% healthy. I smiled back at God.
Today I threw a baby shower for my sister. She is all things baby right now and it’s hard for my heart. She has what I so desperately want. She’s pregnant. I go baby shopping with her and I try to be happy. I plan the nursery with her and I try to be happy. I place my hands on her lovely pregnant belly and I try to be happy. But I am sad. Sad and angry and tired of hoping. And inside, I want to cry because it is so unfair. But, in the midst of struggling to be happy for her baby shower, God smiled again at me. One of the party guests brought her infant child. During the course of our party, I held, cuddled, and played with this little girl. She became tired and fell asleep lying on my belly as I slouched on the couch. I felt her there, soft and warm and peaceful. I was happy. I looked up and God was smiling.
This I believe. Sometimes God smiles at me. Never when I expect it. And sometimes in the strangest ways. Like the small boy who was crossing the street in front of me today with his mother. He was carrying a popcicle and they were going to the park. When they were directly in front of my car, he stopped, turned to face me, and gave me the biggest grin I’ve ever seen. And then, quick as that, he turned and ran with his popsicle to the park with his mother. Yes, God smiles at me. God smiles with the eyes of a frightened mother when her drowned son begins to breathe again. God smiles through the eyes of a young patient who is healthy again. God smiles in the warm and regular breath of a sleeping baby on my belly. God smiles through the eyes of a young boy. Yes, my life is difficult. I have sadness and grief. At times, it is all I can do to get out of bed. But, in the midst of it all, God smiles. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.