Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nietzsche and the Sleeping Boy

Today is Wednesday. Like every other Wednesday this semester, I woke up bright and early. On Wednesdays, I work from 8:30am to 8pm in the counseling center at school. That's no big deal. I actually love the work. Forget that I don't get paid for it. I love what I do there. The real problem is that this morning, I felt like garbage. I had been up last night stressing about the fact that I'm broke. It happens from time to time. The miracles that I work with my finances start to wear off, and I remember that I don't have two nickles to rub together right now. So I woke up this morning in less than great spirits.

As is the custom on Wednesdays, I wake up early, get myself dressed, take my son to his mother's house. I always hope that he can stay asleep. No need for him to be awake that early. Daddy has to head off to school long before he does. So I pick him up out of bed and carry him to the car. Then I carry him to his mother's door and make my way down the road. This morning, though, as I picked up the 50lb lump of sleeping boy, I began to question myself. Why do I do this to him? I could just let him sleep at his mother's house during the week. He wouldn't complain. I'd have more time to write those papers. I'd have more time to rest my head. I'd probably have more money. I mean, my fellowship pays me just barely more than my child support payment. Some months I don't even break even. Taking on the responsibility of feeding and entertaining the kids during the week, when their mom would gladly do it, is not easy. So why do I fight for more time with them? Why am I not a weekend warrior like so many dads? And why am I in school anyway? Why don't I just go find myself some "regular" job? Why do I chase these big dreams of mine? Why do I spend my every waking moment hustling to build a life for these kids that they never asked for and don't yet understand? Why?

So I picked up my son this morning, like every Wednesday morning. He halfway woke up this time. I only knew it because he said to me, with his head buried in my shoulder, "I love you daddy." I responded, "I love you too buddy." After a second or two of silence, he said, "Daddy, I wouldn't change you for anything."

Nietzsche once said, "He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how." I believe what he meant was that once you figure out what you are living for (why), you can endure any struggle (how). Every now and then I ask myself why it is that I am willing to what I do. In those moments, I look at my babies, and I say, "Oh yeah. That's why."


  1. This hit home, Rueben. We live weird parallel lives somehow. Thanks to you and Nietzche, I'm encouraged.

  2. Glad I could help. I know you can understand this struggle. Keep your head up. Its all gonna be worth it one day.

  3. You are a wonderful, wonderful, insightful, wonderful man :)

  4. Wow! Thanks. That made me smile, Tera :)