Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Count My Blessings

I count my blessings. I just came in from outdoors here in Minnesota. The temperature is sitting at about 65 degrees, the sun is shining, and for some odd reason there were no bugs flitting around my head as I welcomed in the summer season by planting some flowers and weeding some flower beds. Over the past week a lot of us northerners have been bemoaning the fact that we’ve had frost on a couple of mornings and that we’re sick of the fact we’ve had a lot of rain, not much sun, and temps that have been below normal.

I count my blessings and have decided to stop the whining. My house is standing, my basement is not flooded, the trees are budding and my family is around me. I sit and once more turn on CNN and sit transfixed while watching the horrible devastation over a large part of the United States, both with flooding and the horrific tornados that ripped apart lives and communities. Once again, a lump forms in my throat as I watch a father struggle to get out the words, “I have lost both my sons.” Another woman still looks in shock as she gazes about a pile of rubble that used to be her home and states, “I have nothing left. It’s all gone.” She shrugs and her eyes are glazed over. Another parent is frantic because he’s traveled to all the local hospitals and still he cannot find his missing son. These events are almost beyond comprehension.

I count my blessings because I don’t have to stand in shocked awe, I don’t have to deal with the fact that one of my loved ones is still missing. I don’t have to worry when the chance of a warm meal and a hot shower will present itself. I don’t have to dig through a pile of boards and branches searching frantically for some favorite memento that I can cling to, something that will ground me and help me to take the next step to recovery and rebuilding. Something that will give me hope.

My heart goes out to all of those poor souls who have been affected by the tragic events of the last week. My respect is tenfold for those who despite the fact could have lost their own lives, instead they stepped up and went beyond the call in order to help others and save them from certain death. And I sit in wonder as I watch the strength of the human spirit. One man has already begun rebuilding his home. Another works tiredly yet with firm conviction as he rebuilds his wife’s beauty shop. Amazing.

I count my blessings.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Seeing as it's 5:40 pm on the day of the predicted earthquake that brings forth the rapture or end of the world as we know it, I decided to get this in before there was no one left to read it. :0
Do you truly believe the world will come to an end simply because some man (who in MHO is a bit off-Kilter) predicts it. How does he know? Who told him? Did he read it the tea leaves? No he claims he deciphered it from a passage in the Bible. I find it amazing he has sunk his money into trying to make everyone else believe his interpretation of words from a well-written book that has managed to survive the centuries. (Honestly as an author, I wish I had those numbers in my sales column.)
Growing up in a Southern Baptist family, the bible was not taken lightly. We were taught to pray and believe in the good word of the book of faith. But as I grew older and began to spread my wings a bit and listen to different preachers, I realized the Bible could be interpreted in many different ways. It depended on who was reading, how they perceived the meaning, and then how they chose to spread that word as gospel to their parishioners. The same passage read by several different people can be perceived to mean different things to each person who read it. That is how the Bible was written. As a series of interesting facts told in tantalizing tales of Birth, Life, Scandal, Deceit, Death and above all One Almighty Being who created Everything.
It was meant to teach right from wrong. It set guidelines for everyone to follow.
But somewhere along the line, these basic guidelines have been forgotten. Unfortunately, the language in which the Bible is written, makes it difficult to truly comprehend exactly what was meant in some of it's more obscure passages. This may be the reason behind this man's misconception of said passage.
Take DaVinci's work for instance. So many have spent valuable time deciphering his works and twisting it to fit events that have occurred and then claim DaVinci predicted the future. Hogwash. If the future could be predicted, then why don't fortune tellers hit the lottery? If I had the ability to predict the future, the first thing I'd do was pick my numbers.
So is the end near? I doubt it. There is no way of knowing when the world will end. But since it's 6:04pm in Jersey. I guess we missed it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Fleetingness of Life

“Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.”
William Goldman
The Princess Bride

This month has been a difficult one for me but not as difficult as those who have been in my care. When I tell people that I am a midwife their response is often “Oh what a lovely job!” The reason for that of course is usually that they have either not had children, or had uncomplicated pregnancy and deliveries. In this day and age and in most countries we are very lucky to have the benefit of modern maternity services. It is rare nowadays for things to go badly wrong that the worst happens and people often forget that women still become seriously ill and yes, lose their lives when having a baby. The other thing that people never think about is sadly even more common; losing a baby.

This month has brought that very clearly into my focus as I personally cared for two couples who lost their baby and my colleagues looked after another three. At times like these I question why I do what I do...because as you see, it’s not always a lovely job. I have to do things that make me very uncomfortable and are upsetting and while I’m in the moment, I hate every second of it. I feel sorry for myself in private and I grieve along with the parents. While I take handprints and footprints and pictures I often cry. But I do it. Because I am responsible for the only thing these parents are going to take home from the hospital. Every single thing that I do matters to them. They remember it and are grateful for it in a way that those who take a healthy baby home will hopefully never understand.

At the end of the day my goal is to make this horrible event as easy as possible and to send them home with some measure of peace. Occasionally I get a card telling me that I did that and those mean more to me than any other card or gift I receive. I wanted to take a moment today to pay tribute to those mothers and fathers who have been there. Please take a moment today to give a thought or a prayer or donate to a charity for those in this situation. In the UK most don’t realise that it is charities like SANDS and SIMBA who furnish ‘home away from home’ rooms and provide memory boxes, counselling and other vital services. If you knit then think about making small hats and cardigans or blankets to donate to your local maternity hospital. People often think of donating to the Neonatal Units but never of the little souls who don’t make it there. You could help someone like me give a little peace.

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”
Kabir (1440-1518)