Baby Ruby

After service yesterday, I decided to visit a couple in my district who just had a daughter about a week ago.
They did the Naming ceremony on Saturday and named the baby ‘Ruby’.
I remember thinking it was a rare name when I first heard it and they explained to me that she was named after a precious stone.
The dad told me they have had two miscarriages before she was born.
It was then I realized they have actually been married now for five good years and Ruby is the first born.
I cringed in sorrow as I tried to imagine the pain that the mother would have felt all those times.
As I sat there in their living room, I soon began to wish the father never told me the story. Since I was a child, I have always tried to avoid hearing stories that make me sad as they make me feel pained and helpless.
But the dad felt none of my sorrow.
He held his precious baby girl in his arms and the baby in turn held his forefinger wrapped around her tiny hand as only babies know how.
‘Will you follow uncle Victor?’ Ruby’s dad said as he handed the baby to me without waiting to hear the little girl’s response.
I collected the baby in my arms and felt a certain inexplicable joy within me as she settled comfortably in my arms and as most babies do, looked into my eyes.
I don’t know if you have noticed too; but there is a certain way babies look into one’s eyes that make you wonder if they knew your deepest secrets.
I smiled and in a bid to hear her laugh, I made some nonsense sounds and sang gibberish as mothers do.
With a wonderful voice that undoubtedly came from deep in her belly, she chuckled. I felt a great fulfilment in my spirit and whispered a prayer,
‘Lord, let me live long enough to have a baby too’.
Before Baby Ruby spent five minutes in my arms, I noticed something about her. Within the time she was with me, I never saw her eyeball move.
Even when I waved across her face, she just looked straight ahead, stared back at me without moving the eyeballs.
And when I deliberately took a finger and placed it so near to her eyeball, she looked on, unblinking.
All this while, she just kept a smile on her gentle face as if she knew what I was trying to do.
I guess her dad noticed me too as he laughed and announced,
‘Ruby was born blind’.
In all my life, in all the over two decades I have lived in this world, I have never ever felt so great pain as I did when he said that.
With mouth gaping and heart sinking, I could only look at the father with disbelief.
Then I looked from father to daughter and muttered a painful ‘My God!’.
As I looked again at Ruby’s face and the smile still on her lips, I almost cried. Let me be truthful, tears dropped from my eyes.
There she was, smiling and happy while I pondered on what life holds for a child who could not see.
I repeatedly asked myself who she ever offended to deserve this. How could a baby so beautiful and innocent be born blind?
And when my love became mixed with pity, I asked myself what life is really about if even a baby can have such a problem so early in life- without offending anyone.
As if Ruby knew what I was thinking, it was that time she raised her tiny hand and touched my chin, still ‘looking’ into my eyes.
With mouth spread in smile of pity, I understood her and felt her telling me ‘It is alright’.
I deliberately lowered my cheek to the tip of her hands as tears escaped from my eyes and walked to my cheek.
As I felt the cold touch of her hand against my cheek and tear, I smiled again as I used my own hand to wipe my eyes.
‘She is a happy child’, I heard her dad say out of nowhere.
Lost in my own thoughts, I had forgotten that he was still seated there. On realizing this, I quickly cleared my eyes and managed an insincere smile.
But he didn’t need to tell me. I was already convinced she would live a very happy life.
I stood up with Ruby still in my arms and smiled into her face as I whispered yet another prayer.
‘Lord, I won’t ask why this lovely girl was born blind but I know you can do all things. Please make her see, open her eyes.’
But no miracle happened- at least, I tried.
I sniffed and placed the baby against my shoulder as in my sadness and helplessness, I prayed yet again.
‘Even if she can’t see throughout her life, let her live a happy life Lord, and always be her eyes as you guide her through life’.
I said my ‘Amen’, looked at the Ruby’s face once more before I returned her to her father. She was already fast asleep with her tiny hand still wrapped around my finger.
This work of fiction was written to give hope and courage to all those whose lives are brought down by sorrows and sadness. To all who look at the trobles of life and stuggle to understand why. You are not alone. Cheer up!


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