“For the secret of human existence does not consist in living, merely, but in what one lives for.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
I came across this sentence while reading and decompressing in the hours after our baby was born. We were in our hospital room and I was in a haze from the raw wildness that comes with experiencing the birth of your first child. I know that in today’s world, it is not all that raw or wild compared to what it used to be, but it’s still wild! I’ve never been more in awe and in love with my wife than I was that day. The strength I saw from her was just incredible. As the father, one really doesn’t do the heavy lifting, and I just stood by her, holding her, and being encouraging. My one task was to keep count between the contractions. I tried to keep count, but the intensity of the lights, the sounds of hospital equipment, and the back and forth of the nurses and doctors, threw me off. I was completely off beat and couldn’t keep count. Thankfully, we had amazing nurses who were more than able to keep their cool in the middle of bringing life into the world, and soon enough we were able to set our eyes on our beautiful baby girl.
But there was something about that moment that just lingered in my mind. I had a creeping doubt that I couldn’t shake. I just kept looking at my wife and new daughter while they rested and couldn’t rid myself of this anxiety and fear that was slowly washing over me. Worst yet, I felt that I had no one I could even dare talk with about this sudden insecurity. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. How would anyone understand that when it mattered most, I choked. I couldn’t even keep count when my wife needed me most. I had the easiest task and completely failed! How would I be able to care for this new baby and raise a daughter when I couldn’t even do the simplest task of counting to ten, repeatedly! Now, I know that this is a huge leap to make, but when you’re in a haze of exhaustion it only makes perfect sense.
It was in that agitated state of mind that I came across that sentence on page 332. I’m not necessarily one to believe in cosmic or divine intervention, but as soon as I read that sentence, I felt all the anxiety and fear recede and felt a calm slowly wash over me. I can’t explain how or why I came across that sentence at that moment of time in my life, but all I could do was look up and stare at my wife and daughter resting peacefully knowing that I had found what I live for.
Attorney / Husband / Dad
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Thank you and Happy Fathering!