Simeon Christopher Castaldo was born on January 30, 2007. Below these photos is a brief reflection of our experience.
Simeon (“one who hears”)
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
7 lbs, 2 oz.
Simeon with Mom and Dad
Luke and Simeon
Philip and Simeon
Daddy and Simeon
Waiting on God can sometimes feel claustrophobic. We try (perhaps subconsciously) to escape the suffocating confines of the divine waiting room, but escape is really unthinkable for the one who belongs to God. The cry of the believer’s heart echoes Peter the Apostle when he said, “To whom shall we go Lord; you alone have the words of eternal life.” Because Jesus alone offers this life, we wait on him. Nevertheless, waiting can sometimes be hard.
As a pastor, my role is to remind people of Peter’s confession—the reality that the Lord is indeed compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving-kindness and truth. I believe this (as the Church has for 2000 years) and with a 50% chance of hemophilia for Simeon (genetically at least), the last several months have provided opportunity to demonstrate my belief.
It occurred to me when Simeon was being born that his gestation experience strangely resembled his parents’ nine months of waiting: we both waited in a confined space for God to act. For me there was anxiety in this space. Some men enjoy the enterprise of analyzing odds in gambling. Not me, it makes me too nervous and a 50% probability of hemophilia offers no confidence when our eldest son became one in 16,000 males who has the condition. On the other hand, when our backs are up against the wall, we are perfectly poised to see the hand of the Lord. It probably wasn’t an accident that the Israelites found deep water ahead of them and angry Egyptians behind them before Yahweh’s glory was displayed.
Even though confined spaces may confront us with fear, one finds in them a mysterious sense of joy. The Catholic theologian Peter Kreeft supports this notion in his book Love is Stronger than Death. He writes:
“Children, like adults, hate enclosing walls, for they signify confinement and frustration. Claustrophobia is latent in everyone. But children, unlike many adults, also hate doorless, roomless, open houses where every room is open and flows into every other room and everything lies naked and open to view at once, for such a modern interior design expresses the loss of mystery, like the larger modern world outside. There is efficiency but no surprises. Children love to explore houses with secret panels, hidden staircases, and so on. They love to make hiding places such as tents, forts, or little enclosures; for these promise surprises, secrets, mysteries (p. 60).”
Looking back on the last several months, quite frankly I have experienced some dark valleys of fear. I have lost count of the times of awaking from nightmares concerning the baby’s diagnosis. Even to the present moment, as I now write, Angela and I await the conclusive test results of Simeon’s blood. Nevertheless, in this apprehension there is also a mysterious sense of joy. After much time of reflection I think I know why, and with this I conclude.
There is another analogy between Simeon’s gestation and his parent’s season of waiting. We both have done it in someone. For Simeon, he was quite obviously in his mother. For Angela and me, we too have operated in a person: Jesus Christ. Being in Christ makes all the difference in the world. Because Jesus died as our sacrifice and rose from the grave, we now enjoy the presence of the living God in him. This relationship provides joy even in the midst of pain. It transcends understanding and gives life the meaning it craves. Jesus the Christ, crucified for us, rose from the dead, reigning now with the Father, he is Lord and therefore we can wait upon God until he divides the water, whenever that time may be.
*Almost a day after this post was written, Angela and I received the final test results indicating that Simeon does NOT have hemophilia.