Yesterday I called 911 for the first time. I let the kids each pick a treat out of their ‘birthday party stash’ – the candy that had come out of a pinata at a friend’s birthday party. My 4 1/2-year old chose a small piece of hard candy; when he asked how to eat it I told him it was like a lollipop but without a stick. Two minutes later he was choking – able to cough but not to speak, panic in his eyes as I gave him back blows and encouraged him to breathe through his nose. I called 911 as soon as the first couple blows didn’t work… and was on the phone with dispatch when he succeeded in coughing the candy into his mouth (at which point I called it off, sat with him as our adrenaline pumped, and prayed thanks to God for bringing him through it to safety.). I’ve never been so relieved in my years as a mother as I was at that moment. It was the first time that I truly felt crisis set in… that things could go terribly wrong right there in my kitchen with my little boy in my arms.
As I’ve reflected on that moment over the past 24 hours, I’ve thought about how the moment was for me a tangible instance of the visible and invisible worlds coming together. It was an intersection between the what-is and the what-could-be, the possibility of a life-and-death moment. The here-and-now and eternity seemed to meet in that moment. (more…)