Strange things we human beings.
We are so often self sufficient, blinkered, egotistical beings. With no need of an outside force, we are strong, capable, adaptable; masters of our own destiny. Hurrying and scurrying through life, often thoughtless and uncaring, intellectual masterminds, confident of our innate wisdom and inordinate power. We are supreme beings, or so we would believe.
Alison, my daughter, pregnant with her third child, several days overdue, waits anxiously. Having already experienced an ectopic pregnancy, a premature birth (Angelina) and a worrying time with her last child (Tommy) pregnancy is never easy for Alison, or for that matter, husband Simon and anyone else remotely connected by birth or friendship.
On red alert, the phone rings at three o'clock in the morning. My wife staggers out of bed, I continue my sojourn, as grandfathers do. Paulette journeys a hundred yards down the road to babysit Angelina, seven and Tommy, five. Alison and Simon travel to the Baby Unit of the City Hospital. I return to my interrupted slumbers. What is it they say nowadays, 'I wish'.
Sleep is impossible. My mind is full of doubt and negativity. How many things could go wrong, a massive collection of 'What ifs' swirl round my head. Anxious and fretful I am filled with an apprehension and foreboding bordering on the fearful. What if the baby has serious imperfections. What if it doesn't survive. What if anything happens to Alison. Always the question, 'What if'. The night is black and my mood is blacker. I feel powerless, and very mortal.
I drift in and out of troubled sleep and nightmarish images. I lift my eyes to the heavens in silent prayer. My invincibility is stripped bare, I do what I suspect most people do in the circumstances, look for outside help. And therein lies the truth of the matter. Whatever our outward show of bravado, dismissal of all things spiritual, stripped bare we are inadequate, unsure beings, in our own right simply nothing.
Dawn breaks, I arise bleary eyed and my wife arrives with Angelina and Tommy. On semblance we eye the phone. The morning passes slowly, oh so slowly. The pressure is excruciatingly uncomfortable. At twelve o'clock Angela asks 'Does it really take this long to get a baby out of 'there.'
At one fifteen the phone rings. My wife takes it to the silence of the bedroom. Five minutes later she tearfully returns. We have another grandson, Ted Arthur, weight seven pounds eight ounces. (Alison had steadfastly refused to be told the sex of the child before birth.) The relief is overwhelming, the joy immeasurable.
In this modern age Ted is home by the evening. He is examined and much admired and will be cherished forever. Life will, I presume, eventually once again return to some semblance of normality. But the experience has left a mark. I have not been instantly converted to religion, be it Christian, Muslim, Judaism or whatever. But I tell you this. Angelina's puzzlement had more than a ring of truth. I saw Ted in the hospital at seven hours old and I wondered. I wondered at the fact that this beautiful baby had, only hours earlier, been bent double in a completely different environment just waiting to enter a strange new world. And that strikes this old man as very clever. Very clever indeed. Whatever or whoever is behind it all, I suspect life and all the inherent ramifications are far too intricate to be a pointless, random exercise. I might consider myself clever, but blimey, not that clever!
Creating a blog, easy peasy, (It is exactly one year since my first hesitant blog.) Creating a universe, rather more difficult.