I had the amazing privilege to be at the homebirth of a friend of mine today. I got to rub her back, and clean her bathroom, and watch her baby be born with two of my children by my side. I got to see the father's eyes light up and his gentle love when he held his son for the first time. I got to cry with my daughter and the mama's mama and father when the baby was born. I got an impetuous gift of a drawing from her formerly youngest child. I got to hold a brand new, wet, gorgeous baby who rooted at my chest, as he is supposed to do. I got to hold him close and see his skin pink up, and fall absolutely in love with him. I got to compliment his mama on how stunningly, glowingly gorgeous she was as she calmly and peacefully labored and breathed and welcomed into the world with her own two hands.
I have been to several births, besides my own, but never a homebirth (other than my own). It was perfect and a gift and a blessing and as close to God as you can possibly get to see a new life breathe in and become one of us.
The reason for the title of this post is that iMinister posted today about Ministerial Authority, and it rung true for me given my experience today with birth, although I haven't dealt much with death yet. She says:
"It is related to feeling secure in the knowledge that you, in your ministerial role, have something of value to deliver and you know the conditions of delivering it. So you march right up to the boss nurse in the ICU and request the room number for the patient who, she says, won't even know you are there. You know that you and the patient and the patient's family need you to be there and you stand in front of her until she lets you be there."
I think that authority to be intentional and loving in a given situation can occur whether you're a minister or not - it comes with experience in situations where you need to be intentional - where you have to be outside of yourself and experience true compassion and love for those you are with. I am bone tired tonight. I cannot remember the last time I was this tired and I can't imagine how midwives do what they do.
Ten years ago, I would have been in the way. I would have had my own agenda. Today, I could sit back, be encouraging and compassionate, look at what needed to be done and do it. I could be sensitive to the idea that family needed time to bond and have privacy and give them space to do that - it was not all about me, even though I was invited to be there. My presence was a gift given to me - a privilege, not a right. I believe that minstering is like that - it is a privilege, and you have to look around you, see what needs to be done, do it, and be aware of where space is needed, and where you are needed.
I am happy and tired and blessed. Thank you, dear friend, for allowing me to be present as your beautiful son entered this world and took his first breath.