I just finished reading another novel. I guess I might officially be considered a bookworm. I read The Memory Keeper's Daughter; a book about a choice a man made which altered the course of his life and many of the lives around him.
The year was 1964. A surgeon and his wife were pregnant with their first child. There was a snowstorm and no time to make it to the hospital. The baby, a son, was delivered in his medical office by the surgeon and his nurse. They used gas to make laboring women unconscious in those days. There was a second baby. Unexpected twins. But something wasn't quite right. A daughter. With Down's Syndrome. This father made a choice. To send the baby to an institution. Not totally uncommon in those days. It was all in the nurse's hands now. He was trying to spare his wife some grief, but he didn't realize the ripple effect that his choice would create.
I won't divulge any more to you, in case you decide to read it. I guess it was particularly moving for me because I could relate to the way that some of the characters behaved because of their grief. Near the beginning of the book I found myself wondering if I could continue reading it. It was as if the author was explaining the innermost workings of grief that I didn't want displayed in writing for all the world to read. One of the lines the author uses, when referring to the choice the surgeon makes at the time of delivery, is that it was "the moment around which all others would gather". I think I read and reread that line many times. That just makes a world of sense to me. It's almost as if that powerful life moment is magnetic; everything happening beyond that time drawn in around it. I wonder if that is what Olivia's life and death will be for me. A defining moment. A lens through which I view everything else that happens from this point forward. A moment around which all would others will gather. It has irreversibly shaped me, for sure. But then I got to thinking about another moment.
The year was 1993. A fifteen year old girl sits in the middle of simple church somewhere over-the-border in Mexico. She is on a missions trip, planning to evangelize and help with house building in the barrios. She knew God and thought she was going to Heaven. After all, she was a 'good' girl and had heard about Jesus. Why wouldn't He let her in? At one of their first nightly sessions, a pastor and a musician gave an altar call. If you choose to believe in Him, give your life over to Him, and to live for Him, please come forward. Every other student in attendance flocked to the front in reply. Every single one. But not this girl. She somehow understood the gravity of the moment, the seriousness of this decision, one that would change her life forever and seal her eternal destination. She wasn't moved by emotion, but sat in deep contemplation, counting the cost of what this decision would mean. Finally, after many tears and much thought and prayer, she went forward. I believe, in that moment, the angels sang a little louder. A moment around which all others would gather.
Two completely different moments. That second one making the first one more bearable. Both, I believe, meant for the same purpose. To draw me to Jesus.