NEVER do we go through our formative years thinking any of it’s a preparation, but there does come a time when it’s all tested.
One of those pivotal tests for me was between 2300hrs and 2303hrs on October 30, 2014 — meeting my stillborn son. I’ve written about it before, and the reason I write again seems obvious to me. I’m still so amazed that it happened. So real it seems surreal. The scariest moment of my life that I’d have again in a heartbeat if only I could just have him in my arms one final time.
As I looked again through the precious images we have of his birth, I note the time it took for me to meet him, to look at him, to kiss, to touch, to marvel, to grimace, to smell him. It took three whole minutes before I took him over for my wife to meet him. Moments frozen in time. Barely believable if not for the photographic evidence.
The build-up to the emergency caesarean section delivery all seemed in slow motion. It took so much time that several times I wondered, fleetingly, if I really had the grit to do what I was about to do. To do what God and others expected me to do.
What would I feel? Would it overwhelm me? Did I have the courage that the moment would require of me? We were exhausted after a long day of induction for delivery that had gone wrong — did I have the stamina?
Even though I felt some confidence about my answer to these questions, there was no prior experience to draw from. Absolutely uncharted territory. And I could not know how I would handle it until the appointed time came. Between meeting the banter of surgical staff, and reconciling my own private fears alone and with my wife, having had a live birth only the previous year, those minutes ticking up to 2300hrs were tantalisingly alarming.
As it look back there have been several of these kinds of moments over my life. Times when I seriously doubted I could do what I needed to do to succeed. It is common to the human experience to ultimately be taken completely out of our comfort zone.
That moment when the years of preparation come down to holding steady the seconds. Don’t worry. Have faith. You’ll be ready.
Those heaviest of moments, as we look back, required no more courage than many more normal moments, but for simply the decision to stay steady and quell the internal tremor.