Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"I got a guy...

...and he's tough...he's a diamond in the rough...and when I polish him up, I swear, he is a Tiffany Solitaire". Ya ever hear that song? The Ella Fitzgerald version is the best....but my guy doesn't need no stinkin' polishing. Yes, I'm talking about Tim.

Thanks for the all the kind encouraging words in response to last post. I feel very loved...and undeserved. I guess that's what truly feeling loved is all about. :)

Tim. Yes, he says he doesn't like people and he's just too practical and logical to get emotional about things, but I tell ya...I wouldn't change a thing.

This week I labor-watched a patient for 8 hours and I have to say, it was truly eye-opening. As I have shared before, most of our patients at Mercy are "puyo-puyo"...."live-in" and not married. Despite the deep-rooted Catholicism, marriage here is not always seen as the covenant God intended. There are stories upon stories of our patients not getting married because they want a big Western wedding with bridesmaids and little girls in pretty dresses, but they have no money....stories of being the mistress of a married man now pregnant with his child and now being scorned upon....or the married woman separated from her spouse because he left her for another woman....or even the married woman living with the spouse and his mistress and all of their children....sounds like some Old Testament stuff, eh? And as their midwife, I grieve for them, but say nothing. I don't know how I would handle those situations.

Meanwhile, those who choose not to get married often explain that they are really not sure they want to marry their partner....he's already cheated on them or she's cheated on him or she just doesn't really love him, and yet, she's having his child. There are so many fatherless children here as a result of such decisions.

Which leads me to my patient this past week. I will leave her anonymous, but we'll call her "D". She was having her third baby. The first was a girl, the second died just after birth because of postdates, and six years later, she was having her third baby....ultrasound showed a boy. She came to Mercy alone stating that her husband (yes, she was married) was working and her sister would be joining her shortly.

She told me how she had moved alone to Kuwait just after her first baby was born to work as a live-in helper to a rich family there. The husband there was less than friendly and at times, abusive. She told me that she learned to be quiet....she learned Arabic, English, and how to serve unnoticed. She spent two years away from her husband and her daughter to make money because her family was poor. She says that she returned a much wiser woman.

I asked tons of questions about her time in Kuwait, about the difficulty of leaving her baby and husband behind, and asked how poor she thought she was. Her response to me was quite jarring....emotionless. She told me that the first few months were hard, but she allowed her need for money to replace her loneliness and in time, the satisfaction of having money replaced her need for love. Wow. I was stunned as I listened to her almost perfect English. I was so surprised by what she was saying that I had to repeat it several times back to her to make sure I was not missing something in translation.

I asked her if she loved her husband....she's been married for over 7 years. She replied, "well, not really...no." Ummm...okay. Why? She said, "If I do not love him, then he cannot hurt me when he cheats on me." Double wow. I then asked, "HAS he cheated on you?" To that she replied, no, but he will when he gets tired of me. All men cheat. My heart sank. Her heart so jaded by hurt....or the fear of it. I asked if she loved her daughter. She replied that she chose not to love her daughter because she didn't want to hurt if something happened to her like what happened to her second baby. Afraid to love, afraid to hurt. She said that survival replaces love. Love is unnecessary.

We talked briefly about the love of God....pure, rich, unfailing. She recognized that love, but saw no need to adopt that love for herself or those around her. We talked about how hurt God must have been to have lost His only Son for us and she remarked that God's actions did not get Him anywhere....we are still bad. Mmm.

Then she changed the subject. She asked me if my husband was a Filipino and if he ever cheated on me. I confidently replied that I fully trusted my husband, loved my husband and considered him a gift from the Lord to me. She was unfazed and mildly annoyed by that. She assumed that one day he would cheat and I would find out the truth. Unfortunately, the patient in the cubicle next to us started pushing and I needed to go chart, but my heart was so grieved. I never had an opportunity to finish our conversation...and I didn't get to deliver her baby, as I had to endorse her labor to the following shift.

All I could do was pray that the Holy Spirit would show her His love and that it would reveal how joyful and matchless the love of God is....how faithful, unfailing, and eternal it is. And I began thanking the Lord over and over again for my Tim....his faithfulness to me and to God...his desire to honor and serve me and his (God-given) logical practicality that keeps him (and me) grounded in truth. Tim has been offered phone numbers, other mens' wives and mistresses (in front of me!!) and yet, I have no doubt of his faithfulness. What a precious gift. I feel so secure in his love for me and his love has, in many ways, revealed to me the powerful, freeing love of God.

When I think of 1 Corinthians 13, I think of Tim. I know it is a familiar passage, but read it anyway....

"1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Tim is so very precious to me and his love is unlike any I have ever known. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Now my mom and dad could tell you that I am not an easy gal to live with, but Tim is not easily-angered and has not kept a record of my wrongs (of which there are many!). He is patient with me as I struggle in my faith and in work and service...he knows me better than I know myself and though he may not know me fully as God knows me, he is always seeking to know me better.

It is interesting to me that God shares that the "greatest of these is love" and yet loving often causes the most hurt....however, it also stimulates the greatest healing. Freedom. To be exposed. Tim's love for me has allowed me to accept the healing love of God. Oh, the power of a husband that LOVES!

I could continue, but I feel that I just might be repeating myself over and over. I love my husband and I know he loves me.....and I know his love is an outpouring of the love of God..."I am my beloved's and He/he is mine."

Be blessed....and if you're married...go give your spouse a sloppy, wet kiss. You're loved.
PS. The bird is doing much better and the phlegm is (literally) on its way out. My cough is getting better, too! God is good. Thank you for praying. We're on the mend!


jes said...

bethany..this is really good..thanks for sharing! I was going to ask you about your conversation with 'D'...glad you were able to bless her for 8 hours :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Bethany,
D has a lot going for her now that she has you praying for her with your God-given compassion. It's so good to read your and Tim's words of praise for each other!
Thank you, Lord, that B and promise are getting healed.
Love you, miss you, still praying,

Aunt Sylv

RuthAnn said...

hey- we've been praying for Aunt B and Promise each night... glad to hear you are on the mends!!
Gracie, Ben, Levi and Aunt Ruth

Anonymous said...

Awww this post made me tear up a little. :) That is so sad about "D"... I cant imagine living life that way.
It is always wonderful when something comes along to make you count your blessings. Thanks for that reminder! I will definitely give Jay a heartfelt thankyou and a big kiss for being a such a caring, faithful, Godly man and such a wonderful father and husband when he gets home tonight! :) Better yet, I think I will text him right this minute! lol
Glad to hear you all are feeling better! ~ Sharon Frisby

Anonymous said...

Dear Bethany,
What a beautiful post. I'm so glad you were able to minister to "D". You never know what will happen to those 'seeds' down the road... So glad you and P are doing better! Praise God! Been praying and will keep it up.
Bless you dear friend,
Love Nicole