Yesterday morning when I awoke, I was certain of four things:
- I had just dreamt I was drinking white wine out of an Aveeno baby shampoo bottle.
- I was actually coming down with a cold; my throat felt like sandpaper.
- My three-year old was scheduled for dental surgery in 40 minutes.
- I had overslept.
But I did not yet know, with absolutely certainty, who the president was going to be for the next four years.
I did what any of you would have done under the circumstances. I burst out of bed, calling on my sleepy progeny for help, wakened my poor husband (who had similarly overslept) to have him dress my unsuspecting preschooler, and jumped into the shower. Chatty daughter in tow, I flew into the mini-van, raced carefully to the hospital, and convinced my daughter she liked the new blue pj’s and would soon recover her princess shirt. Carrying my sternly pouting child into op, myself dressed in white and a blue pancake cap, I held her chubby, bewildered, suddenly masked face on the operation table and looked into her eyes with what I hoped was a reassuring way. “It’s okay. Mommy’s here. I love you.” I stroked her cheeks while she succumbed to the anesthesia; one long muffled scream, one quiet sob, a couple whispered “Mommy?” then her eyes rolled back and she was out. Dazed, I wandered to the chapel, barely remembering to rip off my white paper jumpsuit before doing so. After half an hour, I tried to get a bagel at the café, realized they were cash only, located the lobby, located ATM hidden in lobby, returned for bagel and decided my baby might like a banana, a fruit cup, and some pudding too when she woke up, bought them all, realized the cashier had no bags, balanced all small items in my hands, and found post-op waiting room. Then I called my mother.
“Mom, she’s fine. Who’s the president? Oh. Yeah, I was afraid that might be true about OH. Oh my. Oh well…”
I was then treated to my mother’s ever calm and rational view of stressful situations: how she was going to go underground when authorities came to euthanize her when she turned 70, and she had a sewer cover picked out for this eventuality. She told me the secret signal I would have to have when I visited her there. How we as a nation got what we deserved. How she was still quite upset with me for consenting to general anesthesia for my daughter’s four cavities. How I really should have extracted the problem teeth myself using string and a rolling pin.
As I waited with the two verbose Italian men who were grumpily anticipating their wives’ recovery from colonoscopies, I had time to reflect on the four things I knew now.
- We had not just elected a new deity. (I took some unsuccessful pains to convince a couple individuals of this fact prior to the elections). God was the same yesterday, as He was today, as He would be till 2016… yep, 2016, and infinitely beyond that.
- God was not alarmed. Nor surprised. Nor despairing. Nor panicked.
- Many of my friends were going to be alarmed, surprised, despairing, and panicky.
- God, as the ultimate Weatherman, had a hand in the election results. For instance, people’s perception of Obama’s help during Sandy caused the incumbent’s ratings to rise…
I also had a strong sense that we are going to get through this, by God’s grace, one day at a time. Not counting one horrible possible outcome at a time. Not figuring out how we are going to manage socialized health care and limited religious freedom, then taking those two probable problems in one smooth instantaneous mental leap to the worst case scenarios (which we humans are so adept at imagining): widespread martyrdom of Christians and religious leaders, mandatory euthanasia, the enforced gay marriage of every adult, the prohibition of chocolate…. That we should not head for the sewer covers yet. That today certainly had enough dental trouble of its own.
Thomas More is my all-time favorite saint. I love that he was a husband and father, an educated lawyer, a writer, and a man of wit and wits. And no, the play A Man for All Seasons didn’t hurt my favoritism either. As a government official, he was at the front lines when Henry VIII started the protestant ball rolling. Faced with a king (not a term president, a lifelong monarch) going increasingly mental with wives and power, he did not immediately count himself doomed, though his doom was likely and in the end inevitable. Rather, he tried to find a way to operate as a man of conscience despite the cultural climate. In the end, as a leading statesmen of scrupulous morals, it did cost him his life. But he was level-headed and sane in the crisis, as he successfully protected his family and tried to find a way to avert disaster. He didn’t panic, but many conservatives are, with much less cause than More. (Click here for more info on More.) Historically, Obama is unlikely to be the worst thing that ever happened ever. We are still very blessed, very fortunate, to be Americans… hopefully we can extract the baby from the bathwater here…
While waiting beside my daughter’s cot with instructions not to wake her, I inspected her IV, oxygen mask, and steadily beeping monitor, blotchy face, and fresh ether smell, silently cursing all fruit snack companies that made chewy sweet things my daughter adored. Sighing, I took her hand, reading the ever-helpful post op instruction sheets. I was not to force food on her in the next 24 hours. I was to start her with a liquid diet. She would be dizzy, so crowded bouncy houses were contraindicated for the afternoon. Caillou, however, was strongly indicated. (Groan.) Fevers, convulsions, and comas were bad, and should be noted immediately as such. Feeling the weight of such new wisdom, I activated my smartphone Facebook capacity to read the feedback.
Frequent word occurrences included the following: prison, horrible, Obama horrible, election horrible, end of freedom, firing squad, end of healthcare, usherance in of the new Hedonistic States of America (okay there was only one occurrence of that one.) Several other posts beginning with, “I’m taking a break from Facebook because I can’t stand everyone talking about how bad everything is” followed by a detailed description of how bad everything was. Close second most-frequent post to this was “I’m taking a break from Facebook because I can’t stand so many people celebrating; I don’t know how you can judge me when you just elected the antichrist.” Quite a few “May God help us all” or similar deck-of-Titanic sentiments. And least most popular post was, “Hey, I just fried homemade corned beef hash” and a truly alarming picture to go with it. (General note: photos of what you just cooked rarely communicate—at all—that these dishes are actually appetizing. Pots of soup, stuffing, yeah… it don’t look good, really. Please desist.)
Meanwhile, group hug everyone! Group hug… squeeze! There. God has guided his people through far stormier seas.
“Mommy… my princess shirt…” My daughter groggily came to, lurched forward in a daze, and shakily started to rip every lead from her body. I hailed the nurse, who rushed in to distract my daughter with a cherry Popsicle. I resisted a sudden urge to ask how a red-dye-40-frozen-corn-syrup-stick was truly going to help her recover. Instead I chose to focus on her comfort. Cold. Wet. Sweet. I helped her into her princess shirt, watching sticky drops fall unnoticed onto it from her melting pop as she gazed blearily at Toy Story 5 ½.
Maybe it feels like God just handed our increasingly ill country a red-dye-40-corn-syrup President. Or at least allowed us to grab it ourselves as a nation. But I’m seeking to remember that our Father loves everyone in this nation. That God loves Obama, who is not beyond hope of salvation. Neither is this country. That God works all things for the good of those who love Him, and many Americans still do. That sometimes maybe it’s better to drug up the patient and perform messy surgery than to rip the offending tooth out directly. That if anyone can bring good out of this mess, it is our Divine Physician.
My little one is snoozing now. Okay duh, it’s 2 in the morning… I’ll be editing this much later I’m sure. (As before mentioned, it’s sleep or write sometimes.) My kid ate like a horse today. She played whenever Caillou did not amuse, but fortunately only fell off of one chair and ran into one wall. She’s going to be okay. But her beautiful face, inside her huge smile, is some serious bling. In my hesitation to make the right treatment decision, two of her poor lower molars were too far gone for regular fillings. Instead, two stainless steel crowns peep out from between her white pearly teeth. Oh my friends, I cringe as I can hear the gasps of my fellow moms now. Particularly my mother-in-law. “What HAPPENED?!? Oh, poor baby!” And my girl, blissfully unaware and proud of every part of her small body, will reply, “Oh I not a baby. I a BIG giwl!” And she will scamper off while I will have to launch into my personal discovery of the evil of allowing gummy fruit snacks. The crowns aren’t pretty, but they’re healthy.
Maybe Obama’s affects will prove the same, in the long run. I hold on to hope. Meanwhile, this ain’t the Douay-Rheims, but I this translation speaks directly to my fears today. I will hold onto hope. –TLC
“Do not be over-anxious, therefore, about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own cares. Enough for each day are its own troubles.” Mt. 6:34