“The Rough Places Plain”–Advent Retreat Session One Response

(Here I will record some quick responses to the two sessions of the RevGalBlogPals Virtual Advent Retreat that I didn't post myself.)

Like my dear friend Kathryn, I hear many of Isaiah's words in their form within Handel's Messiah: complete and beautiful. But do I think of them as prophetic, or do I sing along mindlessly, feeling something in the music that I love, but not letting it sink in fully?

The beginning of Isaiah 40 speaks of comfort, but also of changing the landscape. I find most of us would rather see things stay the way they are than tolerate that change, even if in the change we might find something better.

Many candidates for ordination do a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, training in a hospital (or other clinical setting), doing some deep personal self-study as well as gaining skills in practical ministry. It's hoped that issues in your own life will be uncovered so you don't carry them unconsciously into ministry and project them onto your future church members. I went into my unit of CPE in 2000 thinking I had my "mother issues" licked. I would not need to work on those!


When I chose the NICU as an assignment along with Labor and Delivery, I didn't realize I would also be getting the moms on bedrest. I visited again and again with a young woman trying to avert premature labor. She spent a good bit of that summer in the hospital. When she hit 32 weeks, they let her go home and have bedrest there, instead. After we got to know each other better, she confessed her fears of being a mom. Her relationship with her own mother marred her. She felt she had no example from which to work.

For this adoptee, the wonder about how an abandoned person could become a non-abandoning mother resonated with me.

I'm thinking of her tonight, getting what she wanted but wondering if she would know how to live with the beloved object.

3 thoughts on ““The Rough Places Plain”–Advent Retreat Session One Response”

  1. So often life presents us with these conundrums. I guess they are opportunities to keep growing. It would be nice if they weren’t so uncomfortable and frightening, but they probably wouldn’t be nearly so effective.

  2. one year ago I was helping my friend, M2, who was on bedrest preparing to birth twins – she was on bedrest for about 2-1/2 months – some of it in the hospital and some of it at home…. M2 is, by choice, a single mom. Thankfully she gave birth to two healthy girls, and I got to be present at the birth. M2 is also adopted and now raising these beautiful little girls…
    so, that is what I ponder as we begin this Advent season… a very different one from last year…may yours be blessed!

  3. oh the NICU! brrrr! now THERES an issue I could use some work on.
    This has got me thinking about mom issues, and parenting issues and how they inform each other.

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