Learning what is

  It is interesting to me that Jesus didn’t come to us as a king, a lord, or a ruler.  Those titles have come later. (Sometimes I wonder what Jesus really thinks about some of these titles…but that’s for chewing another day.) No, Jesus came to us as a teacher, a rabbi, a show-er of a way of being. A way of living in reality founded through love.  He said that we are his friends if we do what he has taught us.  The obvious goal of any teacher, right?  I’m a preacher.  Not a teacher.  I have the utmost admiration and respect for those who teach.  Teaching requires so much patience, and patience is something in which I continue the need to be schooled.  However, two weeks ago God brought the most amazing teacher into my life, and I’m hopeful that this time maybe I will really learn how to be patient.  You see two weeks ago at 4:56am my second granddaughter was born three months early, weighing just about two pounds.  This wee one is spending the first months of her life in a neonatal intensive care unit. There she is getting what she needs to grow stronger and sturdier, and fatter, so that she can come home and meet her big sister who is 18 months old and my definition of joy.  The story of her arrival is not my story to tell.  It is my daughter’s story, who by the way has always been one of my most beautiful teachers in the important things of life. 

 So I will not tell the story of this precious bundle’s arrival, but I will tell you of how God is already using her to teach me a lesson I have sorely needed to learn.  You see, this precious one knows an important secret to life.   Perhaps we all do when we arrive into this earthly passage but then we spend the rest of our lives forgetting.  Only to realize we’ve lost something we really need.  This precious little tiny bundle of skin and bones and heart and soul is showing me the key to patience is simply, to be.  I know, it sounds trite, right?  Simplistic.  Naïve.  Idealistic.  But seriously, as the rest of us circle around her, ask questions of the doctors and nurses and occupational therapists (yes they have those for babies), pray to God, fret in the wee hours of the night tossing between thanksgiving for her arrival and worry over the “what ifs”, she continues to rest beautifully in the what is.  Don’t misunderstand.  Her what is is not all that easy and that’s what makes her sense of patient peace all the more amazing, challenging, and inspiring. She’s tiny and she was early and she is presently residing in a clear plastic little incubator that is a poor but necessary substitute for her mother’s womb.  Not the most natural way to start the adventure of life. But this little courageous one, she’s a fighter. She’s brave like her mother. Her steady heartbeat continues to speak words of comfort and strength to all of us.  She doesn’t get upset or worried about things like brain scans and body temperature and lung development and pic lines.  She doesn’t know, and apparently doesn’t care, about the statistics surrounding birth weight and infections and all of the other uncertainties that are associated with the term preemie.  A term I have strangely grown to resent.  But our little courageous one doesn’t resent anything. Neither the uncertainties nor the time this is taking. Neither the tubes nor the monitors.  She sleeps.  She takes and digests the nourishment of her mother’s milk given to her through a tube. She stretches and lifts her head that is cradled in the tiny knitted cap, opening her eyes for just a second to give us a thrill.  She’s feeling no pressure to rush.  She’s living.  She’s thriving.  She doesn’t know how to do anything else than to be who she is. 

 In this moment.  As I look at her I realize again just how precious the gift of life is.  And maybe just as life is a gift, patience is as well.  Courageous one is teaching me, hour by hour, day by day, that there is no way for me to earn patience, or practice patience until I get good at it.  Because the more I “try” to be patient about her being in a hospital instead of at home with her family the more impatient I become.  But if I will pay attention to what she is teaching, as I watch her closely, I see the gift of this moment.  And, if I will allow myself to be in this moment as she is, maybe I too can experience the gift of patience which will of course bring with it the gift of peace.  I wonder if perhaps this is one of the things Jesus was talking about when he said we must be like little children.  I think he knew what good teachers they are.  Something to chew on…

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About isplainasjane

Minister of Word and Sacrament, PC(USA). M. Div. writes. preaches. teaches. speaks. encourages, God is love.
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8 Responses to Learning what is

  1. kretzloff says:

    We can all learn lifelong lessons through baby Avery. Thank you for your courage and wisdom of sharing all of this with us. We need it desperately. Much love to the Brekkens and Pettits.

  2. Ed Pettit says:

    Jane, I had no idea this was going on. Must be so difficult and heart rending, especially for Lauren. Your article is right on! And right from the heart. Y’all will be in our thoughts and prayers. Thanks for sharing this. Love, Cousin Ed.

    • reverendjanepettit says:

      Thanks for the encouragement and for the prayers, Ed! I also always get food for thought from what you post on FB!

  3. my heart sings with the Truth of your words, Jane — Thank you thank you for sharing this personal and profound message of Love

  4. Barbara says:

    What a beautiful expression of God’s presence and message to you, amidst all the emotion and commotion that surrounds a little miracle, one who lives patiently, thriving on the life gift of every breath! Thank you for sharing what is a great truth for all of us to think about. Something that is sure to give you great courage, comfort, and renewal of faith. My love and prayers continue to be you, baby Avery and her dear families.

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