We’re All Children Now by JEREMY PIERRE for The Gospel Coalition
The MRI technician did a double-take when I entered the room. I was a walking carcinogen. My face was streaked with ash, my glasses cloudy with soot, my otherwise white shirt gray on the collar and shoulders. I smelled of reckoning.
The intended brain scan had nothing to do with the reckoning I’d just walked out of. I was only getting the scan because a months-long headache had driven me to all kinds of doctors, who’d helped me rule out any pedestrian causes. My specialist said it was time to see if a more severe threat was quietly pounding away at my gray matter. But that threat was far from my mind, even if not far from my brain. The threat occupying my mind was the one my family had experienced that morning.
It only took a few pre-op questions before the technician noticed how distracted I was. He kindly took the clipboard full of forms from my hands and told me we’d take care of those later. His tone was the same one I use with my 8-year-old, Betsie, when she can’t keep up with something I’d asked her to do.
The technician had me change into scrubs and lay down on a table. The ceiling had happy images of blue skies and white clouds. I stared at them as the tech situated me into place and strapped me down. I don’t know if it was because I was cradled into position with bumpers, because I had been changed into pajamas, or because the odd sound pattern emanating from the machine was like listening to a conversation I couldn’t understand, but I had never felt more like a child in my adult life.
We’re all children in times of fear. And that desperation is a gift.