I wanted to post this during Advent, when I was thinking it constantly, but I couldn't. During Advent, I was holding a newborn all day and night, and wishing desperately for some sleep. Any sleep. (I would still like more, but six hours a night broken by nursing is better than four broken by hours of fussing.)
Our second son was born December 5, and quickly revealed he would have the same tummy troubles as his two older siblings. This meant hours and hours a day of fussy sleep, where baby sleeps for five minutes in between squirms while mom and dad can't because he's squirming every five minutes. So I spent hours staring bleary-eyed out our bedroom window, holding a wiggly baby and waiting for dawn. I'd repeatedly check the time not to see how long baby had slept but to see how long it was until it was finally day and I didn't have to pretend I might get some sleep any more.
Advent, like Lent before Easter, is a time of sober reflection and preparation. New year resolutions and post-holiday housecleaning faintly resemble these two religious seasons. They are supposed to remind Christians that our eternal home is not this world, and that we await Christ's final return, when suffering will, at last, end.
Boy, did I feel that in my sleep-bereft state. A severe lack of sleep has always made me very melancholy. In college I used to cry every Friday night simply because I was so exhausted by the end of the week. This seems like a good setup for sober reflection, but it was hard to reflect on anything except how much I wanted to lie down.
This rotten experience did, however, reveal to me more about the reality of what it means to wait for a perfect eternity. I typically like this world. I have a good life. We're not poor, hungry, persecuted, or isolated. So why would I look forward to the end of it? Why bother with change when the present isn't that bad?
But when your newborn child is suffering, and so are you, this world gets a lot less attractive. It made me yearn, once again, for suffering to end. Some day, it will.
Image by Jan de Graaf, with no changes.