I had the ecstatic pleasure and fearsome opportunity 28 to years ago deliver my son, Josh. Narcie had been born two years earlier, in 17 minutes in the wrong hospital. Cindy is quick on delivery! We wouldn’t make it to the hospital 40 miles away so Narcie was born in the old Chesterfield General Hospital in Cheraw, SC – no OB doctor there, they had to call in a local General Practitioner. I was in a gown before he was. Then two years later, the day after I had finished reading an emergency child birth book, I came in from visiting church members and Cindy said, “I think this is it!”
Narcie was asleep in her room. I called the designated friend who was going to watch her while we went the needed 40 miles. But once again we didn’t make it. We didn’t even get out of the bathroom. The friend helped ease Cindy up, and I got on the business end. Then Josh, Mr. Torpedo Head, started crowning. Thank God for the book and having been raised in an agricultural context ( won’t say any more), I prayed, yelled, panicked, but did what I really supposed to do: turn him, ease him out, then grabbed an ear-bulb syringe from the medicine cabinet and suctioned Josh’s nose and mouth and he started breathing and crying. Whew! It was also a good thing I had just finished painting the bathroom just a few days before, not having any idea it was going to become a delivery room! God is sooooo… Good! Then I called the Rescue Squad. They came and cut the cord, and I went outside and tossed my cookies. Cindy was great and the rest is almost history.
I say “almost” because now the circle comes back around. Josh’s dear wife, Karen, turned 26 today, February 23 and Josh turns 28 this Friday, February 25, and, guess what, she’s pregnant, expecting a granddaughter at the end of March. I hope all goes well for her and the precious K.L.M. Baby Girl they are going to have. We have no idea what the initials stand for, but that’s better than okay. Karen is such a wonderful person! She just finished up her second undergraduate degree – this one a B.S.N and she passed the NCLEX exam last week so now she’s a R.N., registered nurse. Most of you know that Josh, like his sister is United Methodist Clergy. He gets ordained an Elder, like his sister, this summer at Annual Conference. Anyway, best wishes to Josh and Karen on their birthdays, and K.L.M. as her arrival looms.
I am so thankful for all 3 of our children: Narcie, Josh, and Caleb. Caleb, by the way, was born at the new Cheraw hospital. It’s hard to imagine in a small 1500 population like Cheraw, SC that all 3 of our children were born there and in 3 different places! God bless Cheraw and all of our dear church members there. We ended up moving away from my initial 3-point charge and spent 9 years in 26-miles-away-Hartsville, SC, but then we were sent back to First UMC, Cheraw for a four-year-stint. The doctor who delivered Narcie, Dr. Jim Thrailkill, was a wonderful parishioner, God rest his soul.
The point of all this isn’t to do a weird Birthday Greeting to our kids and soon-to-be-born granddaughter. I’m just reminded on this day between Josh and Karen’s birthdays that God’s providence and love are an ever present help no matter the situation. There’s plenty of junk to go around in this sin-marred world. I am thankful to God for the goodness that’s left and how Jesus redeems it all if we let Him. So, in the midst of the continuation of Narcie’s brain tumor saga, and all the other stuff that makes every day a challenge – today I am grateful for the personal epiphanies that I have seen with my own eyes: 3 children, 2 great children-in-law, 2 grandchildren and #3 on the way, a wonderfully patient wife, and a host of people who day in-day out reflect a real relationship with Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory. Yes, indeed, I have beheld His glory.