Friday, October 26, 2012

Me, Midwife

Being a midwife means I get to enter the most sacred of places.

A couple’s life.

They seek out a medical caregiver. Someone trained to do prenatal care and handle complications, should they arise. But in the process of being that hired, skilled professional, I am going to hear things no one else hears. They are going to discuss details with me that they wouldn’t mention to anyone else.

Topics that include bodily fluids and their sex life.

And then, when it’s time for the birth, I get to go with them into their bedroom.

I know I’m not the only midwife who has sat at the end of the bed and wondered at the intimacy of this.

I sit there in the soft glow of the bedside lamp, and rub the woman’s feet. I watch the husband lie curled up next to his wife, putting counter pressure on her back during contractions.

And she moans.

And my gaze wanders to the wedding pictures on the wall over the bed.

And I consider that they are about to give birth to their baby in the same place he or she was conceived.

Only this time, I get to be there.

I am there when she screams. I am there when she sobs. I am there when they both laugh and cry in relief when their baby comes exploding out of her body and they kiss and embrace their child together.

I am the keeper of her secrets, the words she may have let slip in her anguish. I am the keeper of his secret, that he is not the tough guy the rest of the world thinks he is.

I wrap up the naked child in a blanket and teach the new mother how to nurse. I wrap up the bloody sheets and remove the placenta while the parents count fingers and toes and call relatives with the happy news.

I make the family comfortable in their warm nest, and then I go out into the dark alone.

This is what it means, to be a midwife.

It means I will share a couple’s intimacy for a moment.

And then walk away, and let them keep it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Screwed



Sometimes you just have to say it.  

They totally screwed me.  

Not a nice thing to say.  Not very Christian. 

But really accurate. 

Trying to be nice, trying to forgive, knowing you must let it go, doesn’t make it go away.

And I want to be honest about that, even as someone who is supposed to have it (mostly) together. But really, don’t be under any delusions.  Christians don’t really have it all together.  Not even Christian missionaries, or Christian home-schooling families, or Christian leaders, or Christian pastors. We’re pretty much just slogging along through the messiness of life doing the best we can, which may not be all that great sometimes, but we keep going, mostly because we can’t help it.  We just do what we are wired to do, and so we can’t actually take any credit for it when it works out well either.

So let me insert a quick warning at no extra charge:  Any Christian that looks like they have it all together, talks like they have it all together, and acts like they have it all together is most likely either fake or lying. Don’t trust ‘em.

‘Cause everyone has been hurt.  And when you get hurt, it HURTS, no matter who you are.  Doesn’t matter how much you try to do the right thing, and react in the right way.  It still hurts. And leaves wounds and scars.

And the healing process isn’t always linear.  It isn’t step by step in the direction of relief, every day faithfully applying a little more antibiotic ointment of prayer and Bible reading, doing better and better until one happy day, TADA!  All healed up!

Nope.

Some days you almost forget what happened. 

And others you can’t get away from it.

Why is it so hard?  And what is the solution?  I found some illumination in the book Messy by A.J. Swoboda. (Thanks, Laurel!)

“If Jesus, in His all-powerfulness can do anything, why didn’t he come out of the grave without scars?  Why leave the scars?  What is so important about the healed wounds? In regard to community Jesus created, he chose to minister in His woundedness.  Not without it.  That is, out of His pain and anguish came His love.  Jesus embraces us with his wounded hands.  It is a lie to believe that community will make us better people.  It won’t. Community will hurt us.  Truth be told, I have been more hurt by Christians than I have been by any other group in the world.  Community won’t make us better people; it will make us crucified people.  The key is the realization, and the reality, that crucified, resurrected people are able to love like Christ did.  Some of us simply refuse to resurrect.  If we have been crucified, hurt by others in community, and not been resurrected, we are not being Christlike.  To be Christlike, in the deepest of senses, is to be crucified and resurrected.  False community is built on resurrected people who hide their wounds.  That is not real resurrection.  Real resurrection still shows signs and markings of the pain.” 

Now that makes sense.  Especially if you take my crude modern expression “screwed” and substitute it with “crucified.”   They totally crucified me.  “They” being other Christians of course.  Just like the religious leaders crucified Jesus.



But the best part of this story is that Jesus got revenge for getting screwed, um, I mean, getting crucified.  Wait, what? Yeah, totally.  

 “But Jesus’ revenge is very different. He called it resurrection.  His way at getting back at the world for killing him was by being raised from the grave.”  (Messy and AJ again.  Thanks, man.)

Hey.

I want revenge for getting screwed too.

Except my revenge seems to be taking a little longer than three days.

Wait. I'm having a flash of revelation.  If I haven't resurrected from my hurt yet, that must mean...I haven't died to it yet.   Haven't gotten over what they did to me.  Haven't starved this offense to death by refusing to feed it with thoughts of frustration and self pity. Haven't completely let it go and said as Jesus did from His heart "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Never mind. I may be a hard case, but I refuse to give up.  I'll die to it.  And then...

Look out.

“It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, He’ll do the same thing in you that He did in Jesus, bringing you alive to Himself.” – Romans 8:11, The Message

Okay then.

Bring on the revenge.  

I mean, 

the resurrection.


(PS- And remember, never trust a Christian with Botox. Figuratively speaking, of course.)