Just as we sit down to dinner, her screams pierce our ears. Our daughter is not happy. She has been fed, diapered, and laid down to rest. This is not okay in her mind, and she is making that clearly known. Her cries seem to translate into “Where did you go? Someone come get me!” It almost feels like she’s yelling, “I hate you!” Already? She can’t even form words. How does an infant communicate such wrath? How does she bring two fully grown adults to our wits’ end?
We try repeatedly going in to soothe her. We give her a pacifier. We rock her and hold her, yet it provides only temporary relief. Once the door is closed, her tears begin and the cries return. We feel so helpless because we are not able stop the screaming; it’s almost a form of torture. This is so hard.
Her cries beat us down for an hour, maybe two. Our ears are ringing. Each of us is in a daze, warily looking at one another, hoping for respite. Finally, we cave and bring her out into the living room with us.
It is as if she suddenly turns into a different person. Her little body seems to know that she needs us, and now her sobs quiet and she calms down. She is content to lie in her bouncer while sucking on her fists. She just longs to be in our presence.
I never realized before how much presence is a basic need. It soothes the soul.
This need is so simple and innate. Our daughter is so small, so new to life itself, yet she is teaching us so much.
The last three months have felt like the world is falling apart. COVID-19 has ravaged the world like the angel of death. It has forced us into a collective depression. Businesses have dried up; work is lacking. Scarcity is showing up. It feels like there is not enough help. The pandemic has ripped off the mask of being “okay” and revealed our country’s deep racism and festering wounds. The situation seems impossible, and we feel hopeless. We cry out, screaming to the Lord, “Where are You? Come save us!”
In our little family, we are reminded again of His presence through our daughter. Just as her wrath is consuming, her contentment feels transcendent. She is blithely unaware of the historic pandemic taking place. Her smiles fill her whole face and infectiously spread to our lips. We can’t help but coo and sing to delight her. We are in awe and in love of this little person. She reminds us of God’s faithfulness, even as we do not understand this madness.
Just like her, we need the presence of His people, wrapping our arms around each other, during this time. We need His presence in this place. And in one another’s presence, we pray for transformation, long for healing, and beg for peace.
Aimee is an Asian American physician, recently married to the love of her life. She loves deep, honest conversation, being silly with her husband and pondering God’s presence in this broken world. She is honored to contribute to Red Tent Living, but requests anonymity in respect for her personal and professional privacy. b