The door between the operating room and the break room slammed open and she blew through. Tears poured down her face, her angst visible even behind the OR mask and cap.
“What is it? What happened?”
“Nothing, nothing, I’m fine. I just got scared for a second. I just had to sit outside the door until I heard the baby cry.”
Oh. Of course. That precious first breath. That precious first cry.
We fight so hard for life.
As am OB nurse, I am privileged to daily watch the men and women of our future take their first breaths.
They are usually angry, and pink, and screaming, and as I watch them transition from the safety of their mothers to the reality of a bright and noisy world, I can’t help but think,
“Yes, little one. Get ready to fight. For this world is beautiful, but it is hard.”
The fight to live, to survive, to see tomorrow, is ingrained in the deepest parts of every one of us. I’ve heard the first spark of it in the cry of a newborn baby boy. I’ve seen the fury of it in a room full of bald women, sitting and letting chemotherapy drip into their veins. I’ve seen the light of it in the eyes of an old man, surrounded by his family, as he goes home.
This fight, this light, this spark, it’s perhaps the most beautiful piece of who we are.
It’s the piece which we have the least control over.
This lesson is not an easy one to learn. My family has had the unwelcome privilege of learning this over and over again. Giving up control means giving up your mother, your sister, your child. Giving up control means giving up yourself.
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” [1 Corinthians 6:19-20]
So we circle back, back to life. His death was the price. Death for life. Death for my life. Death for yours.
These lives, they are ours to live.
They are not ours to own.
Years ago, I had a friend tell me that Christians used God, used religion, as a crutch. Though the words stung, I shrugged them off easily.
Because right or wrong, here’s the thing, at least for me, for my family.
We’d rather have a crutch to get us through than lose the fight completely.
Your grace abounds in deepest waters,
Your sovereign hand will be my guide,
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,
You’ve never failed, and You won’t start now.
[Hillsong United: Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)]
That’s the neat thing, actually, about a crutch. It’s an absolute necessity to move confidently forward.
Lay your crutch down and see how far you can go. You can move, yes. But you will stumble, I can promise you that.
In the deepest waters, your feet will fail.
I’ve laid my crutch aside. I’ve fallen. It hurts.
But He never fails. He won’t start now.
I can always come back to my crutch. My mom, my dad, they can always come back to their crutch. Every single one of us, we can ALWAYS COME BACK.
It’s grace, don’t you see?
UNDESERVED, OVERWHELMING GRACE, always waiting for us.
We brush off our knees, we shake the dirt off of our palms, and we pick up the crutch we thought we could leave behind. We claim our grace. We tuck that crutch in next to our hearts and stand confidently upon the deepest waters.
Control, it’s not ours to keep. This life, it’s not our own.
This crutch, this God, this giver of life, IS ours to keep.
There are nights at work when all is well, quiet and calm. I sit in the nursery and rock someone’s baby girl and I pray fiercely over that precious new life. There’s always the chance, though hopefully small, that I will be the only one to ever pray over that child.
There is a grace, there is a crutch, I passionately hope that baby girl will cling to.
And whether I am the only prayer, or the first of many, my words are ones I fervently hope those little ears will always remember.
“Death for life. For mine. For yours. That was the price. But that is our hope.”