Wednesday, September 14, 2011
"Where Babies Come From"
I love driving past St. Vincent's in the dark. When we pass this way Vivian always exclaims "There's our buildings!" Ours because we were both born there. Hers especially because there is a large "V" on one side.
In daylight the brick towers are ordinary enough, but after dusk they become magical. The shadowed walls of the Women's and Children's Center press against 280 like dance partners. The contrast between the air and the structure fails and the burning boxes of window-light hang like geometric stars. They peer down over the busy rush of cars, sage like, while the passing traffic never pauses to honor the newness slipping into their midst, mere yards apart.
Behind those shining panes is the beginning. I always hold my breath to listen for the cry of labor, for the huffing and straining and first crackly cry of life.
I get this same feeling when I crease back the front cover of an undiscovered novel. Expectant, hesitant and hopeful.
There are endless possibilities, both good and bad. Millions of potential details, notes able to be combined into unique symphonies of experience, fear, failure, ecstasy, enthusiasm, pain and joy. I used to worry that one day we would run out of songs because we had exhausted all the possible combinations. But it hasn't happened yet.
Each time I drive by in the twilight I pray for the tiny chords first striking in those hospital rooms. The ones who will fuss. The ones that will sleep like coma patients. The future bullies. The future bullied. The ones allergic to soy. The boy who will have his heart broken on the fifth grade playground. The girl whose pigtails will always be too taught behind her ears. The ones who will be afraid of yellow jackets. Afraid of water. Afraid to live. The reckless ones. The bankers. The teachers. The firemen. The janitors. For those who love them now, those who will come love them and those they will love in return.
As I pray the days and years of their lives stretch out before me like the lines on the highway or like the faint stars fighting to be seen over the city. And I know that just beyond and above there is God, just as I know He is behind the lit windows.