Tuesday, July 09, 2013

inverting categories

There is a Mom in the program(s) at Heartline that was working as a housekeeper
~a loved son~
in the house of a man that ended up raping her. She had to quit her job and leave there after the rape (obviously) and she later found out she was pregnant as a result. She is older and has two grown up children. She carried the baby to term and delivered him at Heartline in May. He is thriving, is so well loved, is clearly attached to her and vice versa. I told her today at the end of he
r six week postpartum check-up that she was an encouragement to me, that her love for her son was a bon (good) example of a Jesus kind of love ... She looked at me like I was a bit weird. I think she cannot truly comprehend that what I said is true, that she is teaching us all something - BUT - she is. Big props, love, grace, and mercy to this brave Mama that loves in spite of pain and hardship and unfair circumstances and injustice. She loves her son. What a gift she is giving those of us that are watching. 

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Another woman, named Madeline, was in the Prenatal program in 2011.  Her baby died around the 18th week of her pregnancy. There was a large mass in her uterus and the first few hospitals wouldn't help her because the baby had already died. They reserve their beds for babies they can save and count in their numbers. They sent Madeline to find help elsewhere. It was sad, we walked with her through the time and the subsequent surgery she needed.  She came again about 6 or 7 weeks ago, pregnant again. She was so happy to be expecting a child again. Last week, after Thursday's class, she called me to say she was bleeding. When she arrived Friday to be checked, no heartbeat could be found. Her 12 week-old baby appears to have died. We explained what we thought, and what we thought the weekend could bring for her. We talked about a plan and what to do next week to follow up, etc.  She listened and said, "I have my one older son. Then the second time I was pregnant and came here, I lost that baby, you know all about that. I was not married. So I got married. Now this baby is dying too because God is punishing me for not being married soon enough."  We looked at her, gently touched her leg as she laid on the exam bed, and said, "Oh Madeline, we don't know that. God has so much grace for us. So much grace."  She nodded unconvincingly and continued to quietly cry. 

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Quoting Father Boyle: 

"... God has greater comfort with inverting categories than I do. What is success and what is failure? What is good and what is bad? Setback or progress?...

Are you in the end, successful? Naturally, I find myself heartened by Mother Teresa's take: 'We are not called to be successful, but faithful.' This distinction is helpful for me as I barricade myself against the daily dread of setback. You need protection from the ebb and flow of three steps forward, five steps backward. You trip over disappointment and recalcitrance every day, and it all becomes a muddle. God intends it to be, I think. For once you choose to hang out with folks who carry more burden than they can bear, all bets seem to be off. Salivating for success keeps you from being faithful, keeps you from truly seeing whoever is sitting in front of you. Embracing a strategy and an approach you can believe in is sometimes the best you can do on any given day. If you surrender your need for results and outcomes, success becomes God's business. I find it hard enough to just be faithful."