May 1st, 2021
“You are the destination and you are the path,
You are the wish of every birth.”
― Surya Raj
Karin is a playing with Asher. Asher lies on a blanket on the floor. Karin shakes a rattle in front of his face. Maybe he smiles at it. He doesn’t reach for it, but he grasps it in his tiny hand if Karin places it between his thumb and forefinger. He pumps his chubby legs furiously and waves his arms. Then he becomes still again, gazing at the world from his unique perspective.
How did we ever become the fulltime caregivers for a five month old boy?
How did we get here?
Honestly, I don’t know. A year ago, a young woman announced to us that she was both engaged and pregnant. Now, this same woman is in rehab and unmarried, and Karin and I are spending almost all of our waking hours feeding, cleaning, and cuddling a little guy. Our present situation would have been unthinkable a year ago, yet here we are.
Asher demands my attention, and there is nobody on earth who can be more insistent. I need to pause for a bit.
It is now 6:00 on the morning of the 2nd of May. Asher awoke at 5:00 AM, as did Karin and I. At this point, Asher has a full belly and an empty diaper, and life is good. He lies next to me full of life and vigor. He stares at me with his slate grey eyes, and I always wonder what thoughts lie behind them.
I try to predict Asher’s future and I give up in despair. It is not just that I think that Asher’s coming years will be difficult (they will be). It is more that I simply cannot imagine what is in store for him. I only expect that his life will be interesting. That seems to be a family tradition. He’s on a roller coaster now, and there is no getting off of it until the ride comes to a complete stop.
Why would God put a little boy into the care of a couple elderly people?
God granted two sons to Abraham in his old age. Considering how he treated Ishmael and Isaac, I am sure that Child Protective Service would have gotten involved with that family. The Book of Genesis is not necessarily a good guide to child rearing.
They say that God never gives a person more than they can handle. That is a fucking lie. God is constantly pushing his sons and daughters to the edge.
People sometimes say that God is testing us. Why? Doesn’t He already know if his creation is good? Read the Book of Job. An old rabbi once made the argument to me that Satan is God’s quality control guy. (The rabbi noted that Satan performs this task reluctantly, but all creatures serve God, whether they like it or not). It sounds very unorthodox, but it makes a bit of sense. Satan is often referred to as “The Tester” in Scripture. Does the Devil push us to the limit?
“Let’s see how fast this thing can go…” – by the Dresden Dolls in the song Delilah
The sun is rising over the trees. The apple and the maples are getting their first leaves. The locust not so much. Spring comes grudgingly to the north country. Light fills the room and illuminates Asher’s round face.
Asher and I are together. He is here to teach me something. He doesn’t know what that something is. Neither do I. It is better that way.
We have teachers in our lives. Some have official titles: priest, rabbi, imam, guru, Zen master.
My best teachers have been homeless people and patients in the psych ward.
“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come” – William Wordsworth