Pitts’ Requiem and the NICU

Often in the midst of facing your own mortality, or the prospect of what might be with one you love, a community develops out of common or shared experience. Over the eight days we have been to the NICU at OU’s Children’s Hospital we find ourselves with more than 80 other families whose little ones’ face some kind of adversity upon their arrival into their respective families. Our plight is not to be minimized by the reality that there are many others also face similar fears. Instead, the common or shared experience plays up the relationship we share with those who sit across the waiting room.

The young mother whose baby came 27 weeks early. The young man on the elevator whose baby arrived at week 23. The family who said, “Good-bye” after only one day. The grandmother who braced for the loss of her grandson after less than a couple of weeks. The young college student whose baby faces the normal digestive issues that come to many preemies.

There is not one of these families who at present would not take for a 2-year-old healthy and growing.

We have been told these first two years will be full of doctor visits and tests. Watching every area of development to catch any correctible issue will be the task of an attentive pediatrician.

I thought of this as I read Leonard Pitts Jr‘s op-ed in The Oklahoman yesterday morning. If you have read here much you know I really like Pitts. His piece is titled, in The Oklahoman, Requiem and epitaph for little boy. Pitts argues for the necessity of an idealized memory, though he considers it dead. In this instance it is the,

communal recollection of strong and tender men who laid down the law and told their stories of walking to school through mountains of snow, who have you their shoulders as a perch, their truths as a guide, who were never too busy to sip invisible tea from tiny doll cups or have a catch in the backyard as twilight gathered into evening.

You can be sure there are some of us who share life and community with parents who will work tirelessly to maintain this idealized memory for the good of little girls and boys. Bringing justice and the Good News of Jesus means we must come to grips with the new reality Pitts describes and work with our might to see an end to tomorrow’s victims. We do not want,

… the little boys and girls who grow up hit more often than they are hugged, left by blind mothers in the care of broken men who have no sense of self, no definition of role, no clue.

Too many who share my role want to leave these kinds of acts of justice, surely included in last week’s RCL text from Isaiah to hard working individuals rather than seen as living out the clean way the prophet describes for those called, “my people,” by the Triune God.

I am saddened by the story. I am appalled any Christian would think this is not part of our place in our world – to work to end these kinds of injustices.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.