My daughter’s tiny body shone slick with my blood as my doctor pulled her from my body. A small, sickly cry rang through the room, the noise like the plaintive wailing of an injured cat. I watched the nurse rinse away the blood with a mixture of wonder and fear coursing through me. I would have to spend the next 18 years (and to a larger extent, the rest of my life) caring for this new person, and now it was time to meet her.
Laid in my arms at last, my daughter had stopped crying but appeared dour, her mouth closed as she looked up at me. Our eyes connected and a sudden, horrible thought invaded my mind. It was irrational. It was nonsense. I was being silly. I knew it. Yet, almost against my own will, I blurted out: “Does my baby have a cleft palate?”
Silence. The doctor and the nurse exchanged an addled glance. How would their patient know about a birth defect that she couldn’t see, even if it was there? I was used to my doctor not taking my questions and anxieties seriously, but I wasn’t having that now. I held my daughter out to them, practically thrust her at them. “Would you take her and check?!”
The nurse gathered my daughter up and took her back to the newborn station to examine the inside of her mouth. I am sure she expected to promptly report back that my daughter’s mouth was fine.
Instead, she called out, “Actually, doctor, can you come and take a look at this? I think there’s something here…” It turned out that my daughter did have a cleft palate. A partial soft cleft palate, the smallest kind of cleft palate that there is, so small that it tends to be overlooked upon initial examinations of the newborn.
My belief in the deity and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a lot like that moment in that delivery room back in 2006. That Jesus lived, died, and rose again is as real to me as my daughter’s cleft palate was that day. I had no proof that it existed, yet I believed it was there, so I spoke out.
Some things are true because they are true, and they aren’t always probable and they aren’t always rational, but they are very much still there just beyond what we can see, waiting for us to come searching.