Monday, May 7, 2012

Changing of the Guards

I remember thinking to myself as a teenager that the days could not pass more slowly. I was always looking forward to the next day before the moments of THIS   day had come to pass. The sun never rose with the speed and efficiency that my teen self desired.

I’ll be honest.  I had some of those moments during my 5-week stay here in St. Lucia. And now, on the morning of my departure, I’m finding that I’m feeling torn between leaving and my desire to stick around just a leeeetle bit longer. 

Not knowing what to anticipate, I came here with a slightly best-than-the-worst-case scenario in my mind.  Anything would be an improvement over what I had forecasted in my mind’s eye.  I tried my best to arrive here without lofty expectations.  I failed. 

As it turns out, I came set on having a certain kind of experience.  I came to catch a million babies.  I came to dive deeper into self, to examine my role as an emerging midwife.  I came to share a smile, some warmth & laughter with total strangers. I came to watch & learn & do.  I came to explore another side of midwifery; to see how St. Lucian midwives usher babies earthside.

While I am moderately disappointed that the babies were reluctant to come out of hiding during my stay here, the midwives are bright eyed and bushy tailed, full of gratitude for the respite they received.  When the babies come raining down and out these women work HARD & rarely do they have time to catch their breath before it’s on to the next.  They deserve a break!  (Selfishly though, it’s unfortunate that Paula & I seemed to be their “good luck” charms in that regard.)

We get what we need though, yes?  Hard to swallow when what you get is a spoonful of raw garlic when you dipped your silver into the sweet hibiscus honey pot. Regardless, the experience was a rich one.  The gifts are still unfolding, and will take some time yet to fully come to the light of day.

My life has been touched by the beauty & generosity of the people here in St. Lucia.  I have enjoyed getting to know some of the midwives; grateful that they would offer up some vulnerability of their own in painting a portrait of a life steeped in dreams for something more.  Delighted by their passion, their joy, their humanity...  

This overseas midwifery adventure will not end with St. Lucia.  No, it is just the beginning.  Doors continue to open where I didn’t know they existed.  As long as they continue to do so, I hope to find myself wandering with an unfettered heart and ready to receive more of this bounty of grace, humility & peace.

Me, with RNMs:Frederick, Henry, Edwards, and Sister Gervais

Merka, Mary & Paula

PPB, Sister James and RNM Alfred

                                                 Many heartfelt thanks to the VH crew!  

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