Three months ago, I took a writing hiatus and disappeared for a little while to prepare for the birth of my daughter and give myself time to adjust to our new life together. Yesterday, we celebrated her two-month birthday, and today she reached a milestone. Her first round of shots. This morning we woke up early and packed the diaper bag. I strapped my daughter into her carseat and loaded her in the car. When we arrived at the office, I signed her in and sat in the waiting room with her as she cooed and grinned at me. My heart was heavy. I knew that my happy child would be upset and crying by the time we left the office, but I also knew that the shots were in her best interest.
The nurse weighed her, and the doctor checked her out. The time for the shots arrived before I was ready for them. My daughter gripped my index finger in one hand and my husband's in the other. She laid on the examination table in complete submission and trust as the nurse held down her legs and gave her the first shot.
For a second, I thought she wouldn't cry. Then her face contorted in shock and agony and she shrieked in pain. I've never heard that sound come out of her mouth before. The crying got louder with each shot, and my heart ached for my baby girl. She had just experienced pain for the first time in her life, and I had voluntarily subjected her to it.
On the ride home, it occurred to me that sometimes God signs us up for pain that he knows is necessary for our own well-being. In those moments, all we can do is cling to his finger for dear life and keep trusting that he knows what is best for us. No life worth living is painless, and however much we may wish that we could spare ourselves the discomfort, sometimes the pain is necessary to get us where we need to be.
My daughter, by the way, is fine. As I type this, she's laid across my lap smiling and cooing at me again. She survived the temporary pain. All is well.