I am mad as hell. More specifically, mad that I am descending in to the hell of deciding whether we still want to try to be parents, the hell of balancing someone’s quality of life versus his life itself, whether to try to spend a season and a half in the hospital, or to walk away without a baby.
Why the hell do we have to think about abortion, of all things? Of the temptations to face a Christian, I’d thought this would be the easy one: If you’re against abortion, don’t have or cause unplanned pregnancies. Don’t have sex outside of marriage. Duh. Not my problem.
And now it is our problem. If we follow the doctor’s recommendation, it would be more of an abandonment than an abortion, but it feels about the same.
I’m shaking, ready to fall on the floor, when I realize my problem. I think I ought to be above temptation. One of the reasons I became a Christian was because I didn’t want to muck around in these moral gray areas. I think God has broken the rules by making us think about that.
A terrible accusation, but it makes realize what I’ve done, saying I shouldn’t have to co-suffer with Jesus, who was tempted by the devil to get his world back, who was tempted not to take the cross. Job, despite all his trials, never got a full explanation for why he had to go through them, and yet he declared the righteousness of God.
Although things seem to be spinning out of control in this room and there seems to be a half-inch layer of thinner air around my head that makes everything seem to move faster, I have a great amount of time in this room. Mostly I look at things. But how should I look?
I can look out of this room in to the dark street four stories below, this dark, unknown street I’ll be walking with a family member who never does anything because he’s dead.
I can try look past this room, like a traveler who knows his train will make a 20-minute stop in a town to change engines, so he calls up an old friend to come say hello at the station for a few minutes. Maybe that’s how Gabriel can look at this room. Part of why I choose the name Gabriel is because of the Archangel Gabriel’s brief but very important appearances in the Bible.
Or maybe he’ll look in at the walls of this room like he’s a forgotten child at a daycare on a Friday night for whom the parents don’t come and the daycare workers assume someone else will deal with. This child waits, cries, but no one helps and is dead by Monday morning.
Or, I can try to understand what’s happening in other rooms like it around the country and the world, where other potential parents are struggling with whether to have a baby, where a young woman still wants to love despite the abortion she’s having, where a young man tries to forget about what he’s caused, but can’t, fully. I used to think about these people as stupid rednecks, but now that I have to think about the loss they endure, I realize that this is my problem, too.
Gabriel is born, and weighs less than one and a half pounds. He is intubated without further complaining by Dr. Grumpypants, and Gabriel responds well to the intervention. I sprinkle some sterile water on his forehead from a syringe and read a prayer. I try to think of something happy to say, but I feel like I’m talking to the cops and paramedics after crashing a car, and this is an awkward time to tell people what a great party you’re having.
Excerpted from our journals. If this is the only post you read on this blog, don’t worry, Gabriel is presently trying to kick the keyboard as I type.