It is all yellow in the Deep South. The Pollen-Apocalypse is upon us.

As a result, my 6 month old son, Leland, has been a sneezy, snotty, runny-nosed, and congested mess. He is not breathing well, therefore he is not sleeping well. He is not sleeping well, therefore he is whiny, exhausted, frustrated, and miserable. Because he is all of the above things, his mom and dad are weary.

Enter the bulb syringe. Affectionately referred to in our home as the “nose sucker.”

Leland hates it. It is pure torture for him. In his 6 month old mind, it is literally the worst thing in the world. I pin him down and suction crud out of his nose. He wails so hard I wonder if he is going to stop breathing. But if I stick with it, I’ll help him.

Strangely, I take no pleasure in the event itself, but I’m glad that I do it. He needs it and I’m his dad.

Further, I know what is best for him. I have a perspective he could never have. I also know what is best for our entire household, because I’m sensitive to how his allergies wear out his mother, and how they might have an effect on his brother.

I willing put my child through difficulty he neither understands or enjoys precisely because I love him.

Turns out, by the way, that I’m not the only Father who does this.

Please don’t think this account of why suffering comes to us is the only way to explain it (it’s not). Or that it explains every situation (it doesn’t). Perhaps not all suffering we experience is what my friend Matt calls, “soul making.” But it is a way to think of it.

One angle of vision on a very complex subject.

In the case of the nose sucker, it should be added that in the misery of it all, I’m with him. Giving all the comfort I can. Speaking tender words.

And that’s not nothing.

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