A Soul Decision

I received a lesson in the relationship of faith and money the morning my oldest child was born. I was 29 and serving a small church in Florida; my wife was teaching at the nearby state university. For the first time in our adulthood we were enjoying financial stability and independence. We had purchased a condominium apartment and a $50 sofa at St. Vincent DePaul’s. (What an improvement from the trunk we had been sitting on! Material things can sometimes make a spiritual difference.) We had a modest bank account and a second-hand Toyota Corolla station wagon. We were ready to become typical middle-class parents.

After the birth and a brief time for the three of us to rest and cuddle in the delivery room, my first paternal role was to tag along as the nurse wheeled little Carolyn down the hall for her first pediatric checkup. For some reason this procedure took me by surprise. I think I had imagined that if mother and baby survived childbirth, we were safe. But of course that checkup was the first opportunity to diagnose any of a thousand pediatric ailments.

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