Wednesday, October 10, 2012

love sees, love hears

This happens frequently.  

I am restless. 

Some breaker in my brain pops and I'm stuck in a cycle of unproductive worry, and frustration. 

I want things to be fair, neat and tidy.  I want problems to be easily addressed, fixed, and crossed off the list. I want to accomplish something and I want closure. 

If only I were an electrician. I'd just replace that faulty breaker and stop it from popping this way every few months. 

Instead I ask God again to remind me of what matters, to quiet the noise, to flip my switch back into a position of increased peace and trust and patience. I ask Him to remind me that closure will come one day. I ask Him to remind me that apart from His power supply  - I'm just a faulty breaker. 

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

You see, meeting these women and their families is jarring.  

As we listen to their struggles, as we hear the parts of their history they choose to share with us, we want so badly to make it fair for them.  To fix it. 

I write things like, "I recognize that sorrow and joy and pain and triumph all dance together. They are a paradox far too intertwined to experience one without the other."  But after I say things like that, I immediately want it to be untrue. I want there to be only joy. I am angry about the sorrow and the pain. I don't want them intertwined. I want clean answers and I want justice and I want to flip a switch and quickly correct it all.

So, allow me to repeat something for the sake of my own soul. These words are reminders to myself, the slowest learner I know. 

We cannot necessarily change their day to day lives. We cannot meet the vast majority of their material needs. We don't have answers to much of what they have faced or will face. There are not yet reliable and functional systems to protect them from more abuse. We cannot create permanent and guaranteed safety for them. What we lack is huge and obvious...
however ...

We DO have the ability to listen. We DO have the ability to hear about their lives. We DO have the ability to choose to be uncomfortable as we simply open our hearts to listen to their hurts and hear about what they face; even if we're not in a position to fix anything.

Saint Augustine asked,  "What does love look like?"  His answer included, "Love has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men." 

He didn't say love solves every want. He didn't say love fixed the misery or sorrow.

He said love saw it.
He said love heard it.

Henri Nouwen said: "The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing ... not healing, not curing ... that is a friend who cares."

Love sits with hurting people.

We care deeply about each woman's pregnancy and delivery.

We care even more about love.

We want each interaction to be seen as an opportunity to invest time  in their lives, their stories, their pain and struggle. The very best and the very hardest part of the program is making time to truly hear from them and build relationships.

As you look over these photos please add to your prayers that we will be able to get to know and love each woman in a way that reminds her of her intrinsic value and of her Heavenly Father's Great Love for her. 

Rania has delivered 6 children at home because she fears the treatment poor women often receive in the medical system.  She joined the Heartline prenatal program last week.