To Illustrate

The Toughest Question

My son Bjorn got sick last week. I took his temperature, and it was 102.5. Out came the children's Advil. He slugged down a dose, and 45 minutes later his fever was back down to 100.

Just before bed, I checked his temperature again. It was back up. More Advil. I checked again 45 minutes later; now it was 103. By midnight, his skin was hot, he was lethargic, and his temperature was 104. I called the hospital. "Bring him in as soon as possible," they said.

I told him we were going to the doctor. Bjorn looked at me with weary, wondering eyes and said, "Am I going to die, Daddy?"

Immediately, I had three reactions. Common sense: "No, you are not going to die. We just need to get this fever down." Emotional: "I'm scared." Visions of children with bizarre diseases flooded my heart. Spiritual: "Dear Jesus, cover him. Heal him. Love him."

"No, Son, you're not going to die," I told him. I didn't want to scare him. I was fairly certain his fever was not life-threatening. But my ...

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