Friday, March 8, 2013

Fading fantasy

"To the woman He said:“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” -Gen.3:16

A few friends and I just took a little journey together to, of sorts, to Libera from the comfort of the living room.  We watched a BBC presentation "Toughest Place to be a Midwife" (click to watch on YouTube).  It's fascinating because of the fading fantasy with the beauty of "the natural".

For some reason, it is very common to think that the "closer" to nature we get the more beautiful things become.  This is really an odd thing when one considers that the Scriptures say that creation is groaning under the curse. Of course, i love a holiday in the country, away from the hustle, bustle, and grim of the city, yet there is something to be said for not despising the many blessing we are surrounded with in modern technologies.

This theme is carried through in anthropology, medicine, humanity focused efforts, and many more.  The thought is that the more rustic and "un-touched" by civilization one lives it's more beautiful, peaceful and perfect.  To leave these behind is really the peak of living, so it seems. Unfortunately, this perspective is, in my opinion, skewed through the lens of "plenty".  I'll explain.

The midwife in the presentation volunteers to spend two weeks in a clinic in Liberia, away from her private hospital maternity ward in England.  She talks briefly about her expectations and excitement for "having her world shook up a bit".  The understanding you get (and any midwife can concur) is her desire to see "real" natural birth in contrast to her current job where she happily serves woman to the best of her abilities and available technology while keeping things as natural as possible (and i totally understand her heart in this as it echoes my own!). 

The site that greets her and the many experiences that follow are certainly shaking her world in ways she couldn't have imagined.  Instead of seeing beautiful natural births, a sad reality is uncovered and raw.  Woman are coming to a free clinic because they cannot pay for a hospital; it's not out of the choice of options that they are having a "natural birth" it's just the way it must be.  While the clinic is staffed with very capable midwives and doctors, their supplies often lack due to the deficit in funds and the continuing effects of a war ravaged people.  

Woman die of complications that are a result of poor home care, traditional beliefs/medicines with brutal side effects, or simply lack of available intervention.  And the hands behind the work, well, they are underpaid and probably often under appreciated, yet they are also a glimpse of sunshine because they work purely for the work, not so much for the unpredictable pay.

In this, it becomes clear that "closer to nature" isn't that beautiful, glossy, full color photo of perfect greenery with little flowers of color set against a backdrop of a perfectly blue sky.  It's a reminder, yet again, that this wold is hurting and full of needs.  

Yet, in the midst of being overwhelmed by so many needs the LORD reminded me that He is faithful.  None of this escapes His notice and it's not my place, or any one person, to fix it all, but rather to seek Him and point people to Him right where I am. 

There is no guilt in being born into abundance, for that is the LORD's provision, however, there is great responsibility to use that position (even if it seems small) to His glory for the praise of His name.

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