So busy. So ordinary. Another routine, fourteen-hour work day was underway. But there was that appointment in the afternoon. And I had NO idea just what kind of extraordinary awaited.
With both of us working as fifth grade teachers and After School directors, and also taking work home every night, our daily schedule was set, at the minimum: 6:30am–8:30pm. This was–and is–life for my wife and me (for now). And we love it. If the average educator makes a thousand decisions a day, I felt like we were making ten thousand. In some way, our 4pm appointment was almost like just another item on the To-Do List, to me. (Looking back now, I can’t believe I ever felt that way). Wednesday, March 29th, 2017, was another routine–but very busy–day.
Rush-Rush-Rush! Hurry! Go here, do this, say that, check in with this person and that person, meetings, email, call, text, direct message, tweet, find subs, drive to the doctor’s office, and… I mean, I was totally exhausted (and this is before kids). I was in denial that this pace, for fifteen years and going strong, may be finally catching up with me. Personally, I love the pace. As a three-time sprint triathlete, I see the daily grind as an endurance challenge. But was there more to life than this?
Finally, the moment arrived. For the first time, we were going to hear the heartbeat of our first child. Looking back now, I realize that Wednesday, March 29th, 2017, was anything but ordinary.
Silence. Like you could hear a pin drop. Like you could hear the silence. The physician was doing her thing. My wife was ready. Hand-in-hand, THIS WAS IT—
A washing machine-sounding rhythm filled the room. I gripped my wife’s hand tighter. A muscle inside of an organism, way smaller than half an inch, inside my wife, was now producing sound louder than… anything. Reverberations resonated. I gripped my wife’s hands with both of my hands. There we all stayed, like statues: motionless and speechless for thirty seconds. There–an experience overtook us. There–we marveled at the miracle of a baby’s heart racing at 149 beats per minute. While our baby’s heart charged with strength, my heart melted with humility and awe. There–my world transformed.
For thirty seconds, I forgot what day it was. I forgot all those petty little work-day stresses, distractions, To-Do Lists, and even the #twitterverse. I forgot where I was. I forgot what I was doing. For thirty seconds, I wrestled back tears, until it just happened, uncontrollably. (I’m choking back tears as I’m writing this now). For half a minute to eternity, it felt like God Himself gave me a deep hug and restored my soul. In just that moment, peace like a river really DID attendeth my way, and it was well with my soul. A peace like I had never experienced. Ever. Like a deep exhaling of every worry, stress, or self-centered concern, this renders me–even right now–without written explanation.
It’s not about me–All over again. Someone is going to call me “Dad.” Wow, I have a lot of improving to do before then! My fifteen-year, non-parent educator perspective is now in the past. Forever. Moving forward, how will this heartbeat influence me as an educator?
Restored. Redirected. Repurposed. I am forever changed.