I have been exploring my passion lately. Actually, it has been a journey of the last 18 years.
The cost to step on this path was high. The price required being willing to reenter my childhood and name the things I lived for what they were. This is deep work indeed; and it continues.
But out of it is birthed a woman who lives fully alive. My calling, my vocation, my expression of gift; all of these flow from this place.
Midwifery is my first love. It combines my calling to walk with women as they heal with my commitment to facilitate good or physiologic birth. It allows me to invite women deeper into their story. I am One who calls women to find their voice, and to trust their body.
This fall, I accepted a position to teach clinical adjunct in the community college system. In other words, I put back on my nurse hat. I had some fear about this, as I have changed a lot since the days I was a hospital nurse. Birth center bridged nursing to midwifery; but I wondered about reentering “the system”.
It has been delightful! I love the opportunity to teach. I know that is part of my blood, perhaps a gift from up the generational line. I love the light in the students eyes as they put something together, or understand the physiology. I love phrases like “I feel fully alive in this area”; words that will point them down a path that engages their passion. I have a great deal of fun role-playing in simulation. And I don’t mind being in the hospital in a neutral role. I am making relationships and building bridges between two parts of birth that often don’t see each other with respect. And I am able to help provide for my family in this season of our journey.
At the same time, the midwifery clients are finding me as the mamas realize I am practicing again after a long journey of strengthening my body following the car accident.
I am able to enter birth spaces, with my arms out and my hands palm up! These are movements that the doctor said would never be possible again. I love having my hands on bellies and feeling the babies communicate to me again.
How will all these things fit together? There is one who is big enough to know those answers. As I watch the intersection of passion and gift I can only say that God is weird. And good.
And so I am curious. And grateful.
To passion. To gifts. To living life fully alive!
May it be so.
Such a simple question to start a conference. Simple, yet profound. It is an invitation to story.
The journey to community development work is always circuitous. Each person in the CCDA LA conference had a story. Community development is rooted in story.
My story intersects with your story. Together, they create our story. Our stories together create the story of a neighborhood, of a city, of a region. There are stories reflective of our racial experience, including the gifts and wound.
CCDA is all of that, and more. It is a space for renewal. It is a space for collective repentance. It is a space to remember that my tribe is part of a bigger people, a family.
Would a are named, injustice exposed. I am deeply aware of ongoing fear and prejudice between white and Hispanic brothers and sisters in my town. Sisters have invited me to wrestle with wounds to my African American brothers and sisters. This was a place to listen more deeply to the Asian American experience, to the stories of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
It matters. Story matters.
It is in the naming of story that healing occurs. It is in the receiving of story that compassion awakens and flows.
And a story, a neighborhood, a city begins to heal. May it be so.
Artist Quincy Clemons.Title:”fear less”
And so I am here. CCDA national convention, a gathering of folks doing community development in their own cities and neighborhoods. A gathering that creates safe spaces to wrestle with the intersectionality of faith and justice. More than 50 of us cane from Neighborhood Ministries in Phienix, plus 17 youth from the social justice team. My tribe.
This was the view from our window at 2am. We were over a techno club, our beds rattling to the beat. We watched as people streamed out, laughter and shrieks punctuating the night air.
CCDA is a space to listen to story. Stories up front, stories one on one. Delving into story for me means sitting in workshops on domestic violence, teen pregnancy, unaccompanied minors, LGBTQ issues, immigration reform, border state challenges. These stories will haunt me and stir my heart to action.
Missing from the conversation are conversations about human rights violations in birth in our culture. Where are the stories of women of all races, knit together by shared experiences of birth violence? As a midwife, the absence of these stories feels like a palpable presence.
And so I will go back to my community, to my neighborhood, to my sphere of influence. Back to engage story, to invite change, to listen, to be present.
What about you?