Monday, October 5, 2015

A Stillborn Prayer at 4 AM

My daughter-in-law's yorkie dog is tucked in tightly to the left of me, my morkie Poo Jazzy sleeps at my feet. My grandson dreams to the right of me.

My husband has just awaken me to the fact he's been called out early to work. I roll to the side, careful of all my sleeping babies.

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It's now 4 am and I can't sleep. I've always heard God is asking you to pray for someone.

Prayers feel void.

Even at 4 in the morning, even while surrounded with life in motion, even while knowing of busy plans within the next few hours, I reach for connection with other souls.

And the Spirit (that is always awake and vigil) and social media deliver this story into my hands:

Stillbirth by Leah Lebec

"And then he died, sometime during the quiet predawn hours. No one wept as he died. No one knew the precise moment when his heart renounced the struggle, and he gave up his spirit."

And I know that I'm called to pray for a woman in labor...a woman who has just lost a child...a woman who grips her swollen belly pleading for her little one to wake up. Because that could have been me. So many years ago. Eighteen years this week. A midnight prowl, like a mama cat in labor. I walked, I laid full out on a cold tile floor, I pushed, prodded, gripped my swollen belly. Waited. By morn I felt a swift little kick that assured me everything was ok. But I know the gut-wrenching terror of a midnight prowl.

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My grandson breaths heavy and rolls closer next to me.

There's a lot of people out there. A lot to pray for. A lot of suffering souls. Many lost souls. So many searching, hoping, agonizing for joy in an unhappy world, a joyless society.

"What possible joy? The realization, for me, of how strongly God loves us. Yes, loves us, all seven billion of us, teeming over the earth. I have come to understand the love... that pierced my heart as a dim reflection of God’s love for us. Such love is instantaneous, it is absolute, it has no care for how many of us there are or what we have accomplished. It has no care for how long we have been alive. Young or old, sick or well, we are lovely in His sight, worthy to His heart. The love that overwhelmed me, even for a seven-month-old stillborn baby, also deepened my understanding, comforted me, and in the end, held up for me a mirror of the divine. Our capacity to grasp the humanity, the luminous beauty, of every child who comes into being is our capacity to love as God loves—with a strength that is primal, unreasonable, and unshakable."

And I am reminded again why I believe it holy...yes, holy...not to be too harsh or too arrogantly cruel to someone who does not view life from the same affiliate guardianship as myself. Not all suffering souls have been given the same religious upbringing or guidance or experiences as me.

"The next day, we went to a church. We were vaguely wondering what we should do when the baby was born. Should we bury it? Should we baptize it? We talked to a priest. We didn’t know him and he didn’t know us. We were not rooted in any religious community then. We stumbled into his church, and demanded that he say the right words to us at a time when neither he nor we could know how heavily these decisions would weigh.

"'Don’t think of it as anything but an operation,' he said. 'Don’t bury it or baptize it. It will only increase the pain.' He’s right, I thought, even as a more cynical thought nudged its way in: an “operation”? What does this guy know about childbirth? But Alain and I decided to agree with him. We didn’t really care one way or another about burial or ritual. The fetus was dead. The sooner its body was taken care of the better."

Life? Some of us just move through it minute by minute. Not fully understanding the fullness. It doesn't mean we love less.

It's a lesson for us to quiet ourselves so as to give God the privilege of taking a breath so that He can stir a fire from the messy ashes of another's decisions so as to create something brighter and more meaningful than any words I could ever say.

Stillborn by Leah Lebec

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