Normally on Tuesdays, I feature authors and books and giveaways – you know, all that jazz. Well, I’ve got something different for you today, by way of a writer-speaker type whose words have impacted me. She may not have a published book (yet), but you’re going to want to listen to her and learn from her, I guarantee it. Enjoy!
My heart wants to give out. Again. Doctors, nurses, and assistants rush in to salvage what is still beating. This time, I’m prepared even if there is no oxygen mask. This time, is still scarier than last time because what if she doesn’t make it? What if I don’t? And every theology I ever grew up with convulses out my hands in the maternity ward. I wonder if God judges me because I can’t choose, in this moment, which theology to be.
In the Spring of 2000, my oldest daughter took half of me to the NICU and carried it with her deep inside her chest for the next seventeen years. Now a teenager, we make amends and break generational wounds in half so the light will flood in. Her smile covers me in hope and faith I often forget exists.
My youngest daughter labored just the same and I wish her not the other half of me but to be wholly herself. She bore the skin of a warrior just as soon as she opened her eyes. My dark skinned princess wears her mestizaje like an evening gown.
My heart couldn’t take either labor. I could have lost them both – seventeen years ago and eight months ago. Darkness looks the same when your heart stops beating and when you lay curled on the floor wishing life to deal you just one day free of a mangled reality. We are not born of flesh and tissue when the evolution of spirit, kingdom, and breath spark a condition perfectly enough to make life inside of the belly of our soul.
When I met Jesus, I broke the bathroom window to let the light pierce through. I let it radiate off my skin. This is what they mean when they say the blood of the lamb washes over. It’s the light – the flicker of time and space colliding in one single endless breath. It covers, it heals, it folds memory in circles as it wraps up a body, gauze-like. It is time to heal, beautiful girl.
Labor lasts for hours. And at the end of it, we’re left holding life in the palm of our hands or searching for it in every face we meet on the way to sign more paperwork.
Writing isn’t labor. There is less truth in writing. Where the cursor pounds at every half second interval, characters able to be plucked from thin air and gaping-wide white sheets of paper, labor folds you up in half moons. Labor dictates to the doctor to stop the epidural because we’re losing her. It’s stop the drip and give her oxygen. It’s mom, can you hear me? We’re going to need you to push right now. Sir, can you leave the room? We need more space. It’s alone with life inside that you will die to ensure her safety.
Writing isn’t dying, it’s revelation. Writing is what you do after the labor because it’s how you heal.
Where writing releases you from the nails of the Cross, labor is the blacksmith forging a perfect nail later used to hold you together. Writing is hardly perfect and ever evolving. Writing is calling and labor is a calling to life. And God meets us in the middle of both and he rushes to our side when we’re condemning ourselves to spiritual death because labor lasts long after the baby is born. It’s exposed when you slash at your mother’s decisions because you think you know better and then you have a child of your own. It reveals itself in every moment of hiding your face from your children you wish you could take back. Labor lasts long after the baby is born. It pounds at your spirit reminding you of a child you never met, only felt – a baby you named that you claw at the air begging not to lose her name.
Labor lasts long after the stitches heal, long after the uterine cavity is recycled by the mainstream media. Labor sticks to you like an honor and a reminder that you are fully and wholly not your own.
Writing? Well, writing is writing.
Carolina is mom to Faith, Ryan, and Brooklyn. She’s in favor of soul-filled conversations with her Hip Hop nerd of a husband, Erasmo. Her work has appeared in Mudroom, Rock & Sling, Amity Coalition and more. You can connect with her on her blog and on Twitter. Like I said, she’s a gift and her writing is a gift – and I’d love for you to cheer Carolina on by connecting with her as well. Otherwise, what resonated with YOU? Leave her some love!
*Cara is busy pitching articles and digging through buried word-treasure in her mind and saying hearty yeses to her boys and saving the world, too. She’ll be back soon!0