Working as a hospital chaplain, I see much pain and suffering. But these past two weeks have been especially hard. It seems that in the past two weeks, I have had a disproportionate number of deaths of babies and young mothers than would be expected for my clinical assignment. I have held several dead or dying babies in my arms - blessed them, prayed over them, baptized them, and/or named them. And I have held the hands of women my age and younger as they have taken their last breath and left us. And I am a little surprised at the intensity of cumulative emotions I am feeling around these deaths.
Last year, I worked in a children's hospital. I saw many more babies die. But I also held healthy babies. And I was able to see hope as health improved and many babies went home. This year, since my assignment is not the neo-natal ICU nor Labour & Delivery, I don't have the opportunity to balance the deaths by celebrating the lives of healthy children. This have given me a skewed sense of what is normal and it has stirred fears in me for my friends and sister-in-love who are currently pregnant.
In addition, as Craig and I embark on our journey of covenanted life together, the topic of children has arisen. So these sad deaths of babies and mothers fills me with doubts and fears for myself.
But whatever the rationales for my reacting internally the way I have, I need to acknowledge the emotions I am feeling. And the primary emotion I feel is sorrow. Yes, I feel fear, and anxiety, and anger, and rage. But mostly, I just feel sorrow. Sorrow for these babies who will never get to grow up. Sorrow for these mothers who will never get to bring her child to her breast.
And in my sorrow I weep. This Rachel is weeping for her children...for they are no more. (Matthew 2:18)