Alive and Well


Brian Doyle shares how God kept His son alive when he easily could have been dead.

You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. —Job11:16–17 (niv)

I wake at six, same as usual. Wake up snarling Son One, same as usual, to get ready for Boring Old School, same as usual. Do not, this morning, wake up Son Two. This is not usual.

Son Two, who is a roaring, vulgar, growling, rude, selfish, disrespectful pain to wake up on school mornings, had his heart architecture rearranged yesterday, and today he gets to sleep in, all day, no school, by direct command of his surgeon. The surgeon spent two hours poking around our son’s heart, and he made some adjustments, and closed off two new tiny curling veins, and told me afterward, cheerfully, that Son Two did swimmingly and should be good to go for another five years.

I stand in the kitchen weeping into the coffee beans because my son didn’t die on the surgery table, and my son didn’t die last night when his mom tucked him in tight along the sides like she did when he was a fat smiling baby. When I look in on him this morning, he is snoring like a sea lion with a sinus condition, which means he still isn’t dead, and he could so easily be dead, and he isn’t.

I dry the coffee beans with a dish towel and make the coffee, and my lovely bride osmoses into the kitchen with that effortless grace like she weighs zero pounds and is made of grinning and light. We embrace, and there is nothing to say that comes anywhere close to the words you would need to have in order to say our second son isn’t dead, and he could so easily be, and he isn’t.

Dear Lord, yes, that kid is a sneery kid and, yes, that surly tone makes me want to shriek and, yes, he is a grump and, no, he didn’t do his homework. But, Lord, thank You thank You thank You for that kid, alive and well and sneery. Thank You. —Brian Doyle
Digging Deeper: Prv 17:6; Mk10:14

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