A dear friend of mine and his wife, both priests, are getting ready to welcome their third child.
The baby is expected within the next two weeks, but as we know, even with all of modern medical science at our disposal, there really is no way to schedule or anticipate a birth. The baby comes when the baby is ready to come, and unless there is an urgent medical need to influence the birth more specifically…we wait.
We worry. We anticipate with joy. We guesstimate.
We exchange family stories and histories of other babies being born to hunt for clues as to how this birth might unfold.
And we wait, in a strange in-between world of being hyper-prepared while spinning our wheels.
We know we have to be ready for it to happen at any moment, but we also know that no matter how much mental or emotional energy we put into our racing thoughts, this momentous occasion will unfold at its own pace, in its own time.
As my friend was telling me about the strange liminal space he and his family inhabit while they wait for labor to begin, he mentioned how difficult it was to prepare for one of the most important days of his life while having no idea when it was going to happen.
And I thought: what if all the most important days of our lives were like that?
What if we knew that our wedding was approaching, but not what day it would be?
What if we had to have our graduation cap and gown packed up and ready to go, because our graduation ceremony could break out at any moment in the next two weeks?
When I think about the work I put into planning my ordination service, all the preparation and careful choreography—and how nervous I was that morning—and then to imagine that some invisible but undeniable signal could arrive at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday, out of the blue.
It’s time! Get everyone to the church! We have to ordain her! Get the bishop here, stat! Continue reading