July 25, 1983

The woman is with child. Finally. Waiting and longing had taught her to deal with the physically wrenching, wicked grip of jealousy when others became pregnant with ease. She measured the vast distance between hope and no hope as she religiously kept appointments with her doctor, watched the mercury in the thermometer and marked the days off on the calendar. Her most profound discovery was that babies do not come from an act of love between a man and a woman or a prescription from the obstetrician, but as a gift from God, and she shamefully realized that the desire of her heart had been more for the creation than the Creator.

“Is my baby alright?” a panicked voice screamed out that she didn’t recognize as her own. For hours she had labored: gripping her husband’s hand, moaning, breathing deeply, writhing in pain, recovering, only to do it all over and over again. And now they told her there was little time and that monitors had alerted distress. She worked with all her might in a blur of light and fear and madness and barking orders, only to receive from a power beyond explanation, peace. In a pocket of a moment, she wonders just what child is this? So longed for, so long in coming, so hard in birthing, now valiantly wobbling that fragil line between life and death.

The baby was in the doctors hands but for a moment and then rushed to a table to be worked on. A long time passes. The woman and her husband share a courageous unity of unspoken intimacy. The baby is wrapped in a blanket and passed to the parents. We cry in gratitude for unto us, a son is given.

Wishing you a mashed potato kind of day

My father passes a dish to his left and my brother grabs on.  After he helps himself he passes it to my younger brother, then on to my mom, my sister and finally to me.  The next dish receives the same method of distribution, until everyone has helped him or herself.   Now you may wonder at this particular dinning operational procedure like I did (always being the last), but trust me, it does no good to ask.

There always seemed to be plenty in the dishes that cradled broccoli and beans but precious little of the foods I loved.  When potatoes arrived to their final destination, I had to scrape around the sides to get a thumb-full and they were so cold that the pat of butter remained stubbornly solid on top

But, on my birthday, legalism gave way to grace and the wheel of the food chain miraculously spun in reverse and I got to go first (after dad of course).  And, because we were allowed to choose the menu on this most wonderful of days, mashed potatoes topped the list. 

I piled them up.  They were piping hot and I  lavished butter in the indentation forged on the mountain-top by my spoon.  They were fantastic.  And I got my fill.  I was wonderfully satisfied.  In fact, my cup runneth over. 

And some days are like that too!