Tag Archives: doctors

epiphany: A trail of crumbs


“I have fallen in love many a time in the fall of the year. I mean those times when body and soul are revived and, in the keen clear air of autumn after a hot exhausting summer, I feel new strength to see, to ‘know’ clearly, and to love, to look upon my neighbor and to love. Almost to be taken out of myself. I do not mean being in love with a particular person. I mean that quality of in-loveness that may brush like a sweet fragrance, a sound faintly heard, a sense of the beauty of one particular human being, or even one aspect of life. It may be an intuition of immortality, of the glory of God, of his presence in the world. But it is almost impossible to put into words. The point is that it is general rather than particular, though it may come as a reminder, this flash of understanding, of recognition, with the reading of a particular book, or hearing some strain of music.

“It is tied up in some way also with the sense of hope, and an understanding of hope. How can we live without it, as a supernatural virtue, ‘hoping against hope,’ during this dark period of violence and suffering through the world?

“I am bold in trying to express the inexpressible, to write of happiness, even of joy that comes, regardless of age, color, or condition of servitude, to us all. Regardless of failures, regardless even of the sufferings of others. If we did not have this hope, this joy, this love, how could we help others? How could we have the strength to hold on to them, to hold them up when they are drowning in sorrow, suffocating in blackness, almost letting go of life, life which we know with a sure knowledge is precious, which is something to hold to, be grateful for, to reverence.” The Reckless Way of Love, Notes on Following Jesus, by Dorothy Day.

I am in a season of waiting. Midwifery Grad school application out of my hands, last home midwifery birth logged in the national data base, phone off at night. I watch the world around me settle in for the long wait. The rains chase the last leaves down. The fog whispers of mysteries unknown. It is out of my hands.

My hands…these hands which doctor after doctor said would never catch a baby again. I told one specialist that my job is to hold the space, it is the mama’s to receive their babies. They gave me all they knew, these specialists. Words, so many words, statistics, prognosis, bathed in fear. Finally, I knew it was time. Time to settle into the work of healing. Healers are a rare breed. They speak in terms of listening, of knowing, of trusting. These are not the “faith” healers of my childhood, quick to lay on hands, with long and pious prayers. Those asked about private sins, insinuating that rheumatoid in a child must come from something more. They closed their eyes to the sin right in front of them, never daring to look into the eyes of that child, to wonder…

And so I sought out healers that listen for the old ways. They place needles and ask for wisdom. They extend their hands, for light and love to flow into tissues that have lost their message center. Three years now, nearly, since that driver ran a stop sign and sent us airborne; since the doctor said, “you will never practice midwifery again…”

Today, I wait again. The application packet out of my hands into liminal space, the space between. We are here in the old forest, and my senses awaken to memories, those of a child whose nights were full of terror, in the pacific northwest. The ancient trees hold their knowing, just as they did so many years ago.

There are others who wait tonight, in makeshift tents of plastic tarps. Their journey full of trauma, both in the leaving and the coming, and the in between. No country willing to receive them. Even a caravan could not magnify their voices enough to stir compassion. It is out of their hands.

Advent is a season of waiting. It is a season thick with silence. Four hundred years of it, broken only by one voice to one woman. And now she is waiting, enlarged by the secret. Eyes look, voices whisper, judgments pass from ear to ear. Even the government seems to be against her. Who wants to join a caravan on a long road, full of dust and bandits? Especially when a baby is coming.


A baby is coming.

And in the middle of that dark night, hope stirred.

Perhaps it still stirs, even today.

Advent:  Dia de los Reyes

The last day of Christmas, epiphany. The day that the Kings come, always late. The children place their shoes outside the night before, filled with hay for the camels. The next morning under the blue lights, squeals fill the dark as candy and gifts were discovered.
The last day, feels like all the others with the doctor after doctor after doctor and call after call after call. The chaos that swirls from a serious car accident threatens to envelop anyone around.
We played a game around the table the other night, putting words to the week since our world splintered with the crash of metal against metal. The words were vivid, hard to hold. “The wrong kind of excitement, underwater, no, chaos, numb, Submerged, intense.”
How do we begin to frame this, this ending of advent? Perhaps that is not the question. Advent ended in chaos, not the twinkling of lights. The crazy run for the border from a family desperate to save their child. That doesn’t sound so different than the stories of so many families that we love. We don’t find out anything about what happened in Egypt. Maybe they lived on the fringes, perhaps they stayed under the radar. That’s not the story that is told.
Maybe Jesus understands chaos, when I have to call a friend to peel me off the ceiling. I wonder if he is present when the friend of a friend stops to get laundry, or someone tells the children they can order anything they want at any restaurant and it will come to their door. Maybe he is present as we sit helpless,    Unable to navigate the system. When Dr. after Dr. brings more questions than answers, steeped in fear and risk and danger. Is he present there as well? Does he remember the sense of danger as his parents ran, the adrenaline that’s  around him and imprinted on his Cellular memory? Is he  as we begin to seek out those with gifts of healing and intuition, who remember the way the body is designed to work? Eucharisteo. Presence.