As contractions came with force I was given the strength to push firmly in counter pressure just how she needed it. We got into the tub, and soon it was time to get out and push.
The last 15 minutes of labor allowed me to glimpse in a new way the large amount of strength hidden within Gina’s small frame. She was asked if she wanted some pain meds right before pushing that could ease the pain and even allow her a slight mental escape or “wooziness”. Then in the face of current crippling pain, and knowing that a 13 on a scale of 10 was coming she said, “no, I don’t want it”.
My heart beamed for her. As she pushed she never faltered. She never lost focus. She never gave up. She screamed with power and strength from deep within. The kind that makes the Polynesian Hakka, look like a nursery rhyme song. And then James was born.
With tenderness and reverent awe, she held James’ small quiet body against hers with a love that can only be described as a mother’s. My love for him filled my heart. Simultaneously my heart felt much too small as it was filled with sadness and grief as well, and I thought that it might implode. I couldn’t stop the tears.
He was perfect. He was still. He looked so peaceful, just like Max looks when he is sleeping.
I held him too. My boy, my son, my James. I could physically feel his 8 lb body, But could not hear him cry. So I did.
I could feel my soul reaching for him. My very self was stretching out and being expanded. It was deeply painful. My spiritual core throbbed and ached.
Yet in that moment there was no despair. There wasn’t a sense of unfairness, or that I’d been robbed. My balm was love from Gina, and my mind was quieted by words of truth from within that could only come from the purest heavenly source. My stretched soul was eased by the Spirit of God. And we were accompanied by James’ spirit too. It all let us know that though this was a sad day of parting, a day of grief, and a day to mourn the loss of an earth-life unlived with us; it was certainly not a tragic day of death.
Some truths came to my mind during that time:
His perfect and innocent spirit, it was to be untainted by the dirtiness of this world, his perfect little heart, to be without the pain and the sorrow that comes to each of us who travel on this tough earth. Really, everything you want for your child, to protect them from harm, to keep them from sin, to get them back to our Heavenly Father; it was all done. And it was done because Christ had already gone through the pain of every living soul upon earth. He had felt what I was feeling and more. He loves James. He makes James whole. He can make me whole, and He can ease my pain.
Because of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, James will one day receive a perfect body. One where the heart will never stop. A resurrected temple that his precious and pure spirit will never leave. A body that I can one day, with my own perfected and glorified body, hold. I will one day again feel the weight of James, but that time I will hear his voice, see his smile, and know him for all that he truly is. That day will be SO SWEET, because I haven’t had a portion of it yet. Because my heart longs for it, it will be a day of eternal joy, for eternal is God’s name and His joy. I know that every tear I shed now will be blessed and weaved by the author of salvation into happiness that will spring forth as blinding white rays of the sun’s light.
And it is the source of that love and light, My Father in Heaven and His Son, that I have come to love, have faith in, and know more. Through this pain, and through this sorrow, I have been more able to see and most especially feel, through the increased, even stark contrast, the arm of the Lord around me each day. I have been able to recognize His love because my soul and heart are reaching for it. I have needed it. I have been praying for it. And when it comes, and it always does, I am comforted. Because I need the comfort I can feel it more readily when it arrives.
You notice the sweet flavor of cold water when you feel like you might die of thirst the best. Your favorite hamburger is the one you have after a week at summer camp where calories were hard to come by. Your wife’s kiss is sweetest after hours, or days of being apart, and God’s love is ever more potent, when we recognize how badly we need it to sustain us.
The thing is about our life on earth, is that we are more often than not spiritually starving. We need God’s love in our life every single day, but our physical body is so well taken care of that we hardly stop to notice the aching inner spirit within us. That spirit, that used to dwell with God and loved ones, is so frequently overshadowed by the much louder noises of the body and cares we face each day. Our poor heart is unnoticed when we are looking for a job. Our hungry conscience cannot be heard over a rumbling stomach. It is the balance of body, mind, and spirit that the Gospel of Jesus Christ measures out to us. It keeps us humble and teachable in times of prosperity, and comforted and loved in times of adversity. It teaches and bolsters us to lift others, and to answer the unique call each of us have been given to live.
I hope I can answer this call, and that the Lord will make me equal to it.