An Epiphany in the Dark


It’s the middle of the night. Or, maybe it’s almost morning. I’m not sure; sleep deprivation after having a baby is my new reality. He’s awake again. Eyes barely open, I stumble out of bed to pick him up and feed him. I notice he has a dirty diaper—not the kind that can wait until later. Yet, he is so content after his feeding, so cozily snuggled and warm. The last thing either of us wants is to change this diaper. But it’s not optional. His skin is so sensitive that ignoring it will leave him with a burning rash in a few short hours.

Here I go… I slowly unbutton his onesie and start the process. As the cold air hits his exposed skin, he starts to shriek, as if to say, “How dare you wake me up?? Why are you torturing me? Let me stay in my cozy, warm, (and filthy) position!!” I proceed to clean him as quickly as I can as he screams and cries. He has a look of sheer horror on his face. I try to console him, as if he understands the words I’m saying. “I know, zeeskeit, but I don’t have a choice. You have to get clean, and it has to be now. If I leave you in your comfortable state, you’ll end up with more pain later. But you don’t know that. You’re just a baby.” Once he is clean, I speedily bundle him up, hug and kiss him, and comfort him. I know I did the right thing for his ultimate good, but he has no idea.

Then, BOOM!!! An “aha!” moment of massive proportions takes place. In that dark room, a burst of light enters my cloudy mind. I turn my eyes upward toward my Father in Heaven and say, “Hashem, I realize now that I don’t understand Your ways. You are my loving Parent, and there’s no comparison between us when it comes to breadth of knowledge and wisdom. I’m a baby; completely helpless and reliant on You. I don’t know what was and I don’t know what will be. I’m so finite, so small. I’m ignorant to the reasons for things, to the whys and hows of this big world. When something is painful, I cry, I scream, and there’s just no way for me to see it’s for my benefit in my moment of despair. But, tonight, I am able to experience being on the other side, changing my baby to spare him from further pain while he wails angrily. I know what’s best, while he only knows the here and now. I know I love him and am saving him from potential infection, while he is just upset about a wet wipe.”

And, suddenly, the dark room is not dark any longer…

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Pesha Chaya Brenner is married with two sons, ages 10 and 4. The daughter of a rabbi, she lived in 4 different cities growing up before settling in Baltimore. Currently, she works as a speech-language pathologist in the public school system. She has survived many tragedies; despite it all, her passion is finding the humor and inspiration in every instance.