Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by coming up with three meals a day for four healthy kids who feed themselves at the table. Or unable to focus on questions about how to factor an equation or wither Iodine exists as a two-atom compound or what would be a good paper outline for the second battle of Bull Run. I am humbled to watch these women tirelessly caring for their babies around the clock, never sleeping more than an hour and a half, no privacy, wearing hospital gowns and eating from a trolley of institutional food, sharing a bathing area with 80-some patients on the ward, and with only a moderate hope that their baby can survive. Few families can afford to visit very often. These women form community amongst themselves in their shared suffering. And rejoice with each other, too.
Every morning I pray with them, that they will meet Jesus in this unlikely place.
So much of parenthood teeters on the grief of loss. This morning I read the beginning of Joseph's story in Genesis. This time Jacob jumped out at the end of chapter 37. "Thus his father wept for him." At that moment, with the torn and bloody robe in his hands, Jacob could only see tragedy and the end of his dreams. There was absolutely no evidence in this story to suggest that God would redeem Joseph's taunting pride and his father's favoritism and his brother's jealous violence and his culture's unjust slave trade to bring about the dramatic rescue of a civilization facing famine and a tribe facing extinction. Jacob had nothing to suggest any emotion other than despair. But his son was destined for greatness. I hope some of these moms have that sort of faith. And I hope I will have it too, next time my own children's paths look like they are dropping into a pit.
Here's to our nursery moms, and the painful joy of parenting.