I apologize to my colleagues and readers (a few of you anyway!) for having been scarce these past weeks. I'll probably be scarce in the weeks to come as well, but will try to improve little by little. It's no secret that our sixth child was born on January 21, a boy, and that he was born with pulmonary hypertension which the doctors deemed life-threatening. He was hospitalized for a while, but his progress has been extraordinarily rapid and we were able to bring him home last week.
The experience of God in the birth of a child has become cliche, but we are simply overwhelmed with His mercy and the love bestowed upon us through family, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers. Let me say, too, that I have a new respect for hospital social workers, who were immensely helpful to us, and for charitable groups like "Wings of Eagles" who were Johnny-on-the-spot with their support. Furthermore, the professional competence and dedication of the hospital pediatricians, as well as the NICU nurses, was a magnificent sight to behold. A “culture of life” still triumphs in these people, even in the midst of much tawdry political correctness. What marvelous work for anyone - but for a Christian especially - to embark upon.
As I often say, we Culbreaths are debtors, pure and simple, and at times like this we can do little more than soak in the abundance of God and the generosity of others. That is not to say there isn't a big bill behind it all. The baby's flight to Sacramento alone, which lasted about an hour, was billed at $28,000. Not including ambulance services to and from the airports.
As a person of (partially) sanguine temperament, I have a rather embarrassing tendency to over-commit to things. In the course of the past year I have made several promises with respect to W4: to review ISI's "Wealth, Poverty, and Human Destiny", which was given to me for that purpose; to review Newman's "The Idea of a University"; and to review Fr. Thomas Dubay’s “Happy Are You Poor”. The first review is daunting because there are so many interesting perspectives involved; the second is daunting because Newman doesn’t write in bumper sticker slogans, and I am, after all, a blogger; the third is daunting because I suspect that this book, while promulgating a much-needed and widely-ignored Christian message, is flawed in such a way as to detract from its primary purpose, and I’m not sure how to present or clarify this. My intention to review each of these books remains, but I beg your patience and may even require your forgiveness.