Holding Hands

“[E]ven seeming emptiness is not sterile. In the times of waiting, it is enough if we do nothing more than sit with the birthgiver, offering a hand to be held.” – Margaret Guenther

God is so filled with love that he is repeatedly born in the empty, welcoming space of the soul. You can see that as a vision of eternal fertility. Or you can see it as an invitation to further tragedy as new life is aborted 1000 times a day and wasted. But, the truth is, the emptiness is teeming with life. Whether life-receiving or life-rejecting, we are not vacuums, even when we act vacuously.

We could miss the life. I walked out of Morning Glory and said, “That movie was charming and meant nothing.” But Gwen immediately and appropriately corrected me. “What do you mean? That movie was about staying with someone and hoping for change.” It dawned on me that, “I am Rachel McAdams having a moment of self-loathing as I leave the theater!”

Rachel is the struggling producer of a morning TV show. Harrison Ford is the curmudgeonly has-been anchor subjected to her care. With perpetual perkiness, indefatigability and hope, Rachel wins him over, saves the show, proves mom wrong about disrespecting her dreams, makes New York seem friendly and gets the supposedly hunky guy (although I wasn’t seeing the purported hotness, there).  

On the other hand, we could pretend that cobbled-together plots like that bear some resemblance to reality. As I walked out of Morning Glory, my first reaction was ungenerous and narrow, but it was not totally wrong. I laughed. I teared up. I enjoyed Rachel running in slow motion past Prometheus in Rockefeller Plaza. But at some point, I had to hit my head and say, “What do you mean? She found an apartment in Manhattan in one-morning! She meets a guy and after one page of dialogue they have passionate sex! Jeff Goldblum was cast! Real life is not like what rich people fret about in New York!” The movie is purposeful delusion. It is systematically giving birth to wind

So, as usual, there was birth planted in its emptiness. But, in the end, I think the life of God was aborted. So, as usual, my reaction was right and wrong. So I am glad to remember the original quote up top. It is probably the wisest response, most of the time, to patiently wait for anything that can be born to be born.   

I want to spend this week holding hands with people as they are giving spiritual birth. If they give birth to wind, may I hold their hand again when the next spiritual pregnancy comes to fruit. Even the movies are clamoring for morning glory. I think it is up to me to see that yearning as an emptiness waiting to be filled by God. When the smallest bump can be seen, or even the discomfort of being sick with something that isn’t recognized as something, yet, it is good for me to sit and hold someone’s hand. I’m not sure what will be born, or not. But my comforting presence given freely to those making their fear-filled journey through the big city is not useless.

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