with quickened hope
for crooked paths to straighten,
with tough-soul’d anguish,
while blinded keepers of the keys
shut out God’s own.
(If such a thing were possible.)
and will not be dismayed.
For tiny shoot of Jesse tree
took root in me.
(Advent. By Sr. Christine Schenk. A midwife)
I have been bathing in the waters of hospital birth again, this time in a new role. I put on the white coat, with its instant prestige. I put on the title, reluctantly: “Professor Wilder”. I notice I am more comfortable with my first name. I am so aware that the kind of birth I get to do at home is 1% in our country. This 99% is the norm. Full of risk, adrenaline, and hurry, and occasional moments of goodness….the babies are born. There are redeeming moments: the nurse who goes the extra mile, the Doctor who dares to trust, the student nurse who has eyes to see. For this reason, I enter; to offer my gifts.
And yet, I am so aware of the stark contrast. The precious spaces I get to hold in the home with mamas are thick with the sense of the holy.
There was another birth done in a way that was also countercultural. Even then, you didn’t birth in the barn. And yet the sense of the holy was thick, even there.
And so we come to Advent.
We invite the holy.
And we wait.