As I begin this post, our youngest daughter is in the birthing process with their first child. She called last night around 1:30AM (their time) to say that the dam had broken, but were home from the hospital with the injunction to “try and get some sleep”.
Yeah, right. A separate human being is trying to push her way into the world through your body, and you’re supposed to “get some sleep”.
Last report is that the contractions are getting more regular. Of course, their bags are packed, and my son-in-law has been the one “nesting” by changing all the lights in their small apartment so that they can be turned on and off by a phone app, by rotating the tires on the car, etc…we love him.
And yet, even though he will experience everything he can as our own baby girl goes through this process, no one can really understand it quite like she will. I hesitate to call it “suffering”, but let’s face it, the word fits and should not be made light of.
The discomfort of labor and delivery is, however, temporary and only prepares one for those things that are to come. How? I like how Peter looks at suffering from his very masculine perspective:
“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.”
Now, how does THAT work? How does enduring physical pain for the cause of Christ help us to be done with sin? And then it hit me (from a very feminine perspective):
When I suffered through three pregnancies and three births for my three beautiful daughters, there was an intense bonding that took place, one that prepared me to go through hell and high water if need be to help them. (I’ve had to learn to retract the mother-claws, and embrace the name of Mother Superior as my home known as The Convent since I was so “strict” during their adolescence.)
We also see the phenomenon in psychology; that is, when people suffer together, they are more apt to bond over that suffering. There is an intimate connection between what we go through physically, and what happens to us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—in our relationships and perceptions of those for whom we have sacrificed.
Obviously, that’s not the end-all of solidifying those relationships; we are much more complex than that, but there’s something about the suffering process that is not to be dismissed as wholly undesirable or negative.
Not that we should pursue suffering, like the ancient monks did to their own detriment. Following in Jesus’ steps will bring our appointed sacrifices at the right time.
After all, it took nine months for our new baby granddaughter to make her appearance!
Postscript: I got “the call” the afternoon after this was written—a beautiful girl and everyone healthy and happy! (And tired….)
1 Peter 4:1,2 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.