Sunday, August 10, 2008

Forceps and Fatherhood

On Saturday Paula and I attended a birthing class to help us get ready for the baby and while I knew this whole having a baby thing wasnʼt gonna be easy (for Paula that is), I have to say, truthfully, I was pretty clueless.

I learned more about amniotic fluid than I EVER wanted to know and we watched videos that were apparently made by folks who feel deeply that there should be no secrets about anything that happens during a birth and that in fact we who are about to have a baby should actually see it happen up close and personal – you know, salad tongs and all.

Despite the initial shock – (“Oh my. Why, thatʼs a....Oh my!”) I found all of it quite helpful. I mean, I have had my apprehensions about actually being in the room during the labor because truthfully, I am sort of on the squeamish side and I could just imagine myself passing out and hitting my head on a stirrup or something and having to be carted off to the E.R., leaving Paula with nothing to comfort her but a “Songs of the Dolphins” CD and a cup of ice chips.

But now that Iʼve had an 8 hour class giving detailed (very detailed, I might add) descriptions of everything that is supposed to take place, I feel like maybe Iʼll be O.K.

I suppose more than anything, this class reminded me what a miracle life is, that life doesnʼt just happen and that when it does the fingerprints of God are all over it.

Something the nurse said towards the end of her presentation though I thought was particularly profound. She pointed out that when the baby is born they immediately place the baby on the motherʼs chest. She noted that they do this, even if the mother isnʼt breast feeding, because as she put it, “this will help the babyʼs temperature and breathing to stabilize.”

You know, the same is true of us. Our nearness to the heart of God is what more than anything will cause our lives to stabilize and find rhythm. Our nearness to the One from whom we came is the ultimate source of our peace and comfort because as it says of Jesus in the book of Acts, “For in him we live and move and have our being...we are his offspring” (Acts 17:28).

And truthfully there are times when my life gets out of synch and I flounder about looking for something to validate who I am and to give my life significance. I think if I just preach one more good sermon, or write a profound blog, or get another degree, then my life will have the order and peace I long for. But the truth is, during these times what I am really thinking, perhaps without realizing it, is that my life belongs to me, when in fact it doesnʼt.

And so as I contemplate that weʼre about to bring a life into the world who will be totally dependent on us for everything, and as I contemplate becoming a father, I am reminded again of my own infancy and dependency.

And Iʼm reminded that peace is not about how we perform or what weʼve achieved, but about our nearness to the One who gave us life, so that we might sense His heartbeat and know the comfort of His breathing.

Not to mention that I am sure that after Saturday, Iʼll never look at salad tongs quite the same again.


Netta said...

We & our church family are praying for you. Love you so much!

Pastor Matt & Shannon Fabin said...

Jerry & Paula, We are praying that God's peace and comfort will wrap around you today and in the difficult days to come. Your Foursquare Family in Waynesboro loves you!
Pastor Matt & Shannon Fabin

Janet said...

Love and prayers coming to you from Georgia... Janet, Steve, Colin and Melanie Frick

Linda said...

Paula and Jerry,
Our hearts are broken for you. We are praying for "peace like a river" to envelope you. Our love to you both.

Jodi Pfadt said...

My dear sister and brother-in-law,
After reading this journal entry, I couldn't help but go to the hymnal and read the words to the song "Near to the Heart of God".

There is a place of comfort sweet, near the heart of God. A place where we our Savior meet, near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, Sent from the heart of God, Hold us who wait before thee ... near to the heart of God.

I love you both--Jodi

The McShane Family said...

I don't know you personally, I am the Early Childhood Pastor at Grace Community Church in Centennial, CO and have lost a baby. I am praying for you during this time!