My wife and I were fortunate enough to have had a healthy baby boy a few days ago. We’ve done this before, but it’s something that I never get used to. There is an awkward period of time towards the end when you know it’s coming..and soon, but have absolutely no idea when and thus are left to wonder how it might play out. Will it be during carpool? At the supermarket? And how long will we have? (My second child was born in a grand total of 48 minutes so since then duration has been a concern).
As it happens it was in the middle of the night and despite the fact that I knew it was a theoretical possibility, I just didn’t think it would go down like that-I was having this really weird dream, then awoke suddenly to find my wife in the rocking chair. “What’s wrong”? I asked. “Something’s going on” she said, “I think we need to go”. No way, I thought, not at 3:30 am! But as my neighbor told me a day earlier-he’ll come when he’s told to come.
Many problems in life are caused by our allegiance to the (false) idea that we are in control of a given situation. If things don’t go the way we want them to we become angry and frustrated. It’s clear that we would not feel that way if we knew exactly how little control we actually have. My wife had no say over when this kid would arrive, and actually very little idea of how it works. In many ways we are just along for the ride-we don’t know the names of most of the chemicals in our bodies or what they do, we don’t know the functions of many of our major organs (ie: spleen), and we aren’t even aware of most of our thoughts as they are subconscious. We are aware of a very narrow band of reality and yet we expect to know everything and want to have decisive influence over events great and small in our lives. Counter intuitively, peace of mind comes from the realization that we are not in control, nor will we ever be, but as the Talmud states “hakol b’yedei shamayim” (everything is in the hands of heaven).