Birth, Life, and Transfiguration Sunday

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It had been a difficult pregnancy and the birth and delivery followed suit. It was 1997, and cell phones were mainly for emergency use. Contact was not nearly as constant as it is now, so it is hard even for me to realize how incredibly disconnected we were from my sister on the day her first child was born. The “we” here, is my mother and me. Though she was a state away, we waited across the miles together. Chancing a call only once or twice during the long day, for fear we would be using the line when we got the call we were both so eagerly awaiting.

I paced. I waited. I wrote.  I looked at the phone, double–triple–checking to make sure it was connected and charged. And then I’d pace some more. It was a long, long day.

Finally, about 4:00 that afternoon, we got word that Emma had arrived. We learned that though the delivery had not been without difficulty, both my sister and her newborn were going to be just fine. A short time later, I traveled to Baltimore with my parents and my own nursing baby to meet Emma and to see my sister. When they arrived at their house from the hospital, we had been there for less than an hour.

I was standing on the porch when the car pulled into a parking spot. I guess Mother had my son, I’m not sure; because in that moment, all I remember was seeing my sister on the other side of the car window, opening the door, cradling the baby from the car seat to her arms, her husband helping her from the car. I moved, somehow, to her side, embraced her with Emma between us, and wept. It was one of the high holy moments of my life.

And while Emma’s birthday always coincides with the beginning of Lent and thus Transfiguration Sunday (always the last Sunday of Epiphany, the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday), I would remember that moment on Transfiguration Sunday no matter when she had been born. See, in that moment, I felt like the past, future, and here and now collided right there on the sidewalk. My parents on the porch with my not-quite-one-year-old, my sister holding Emma, the two of us holding onto each other with relief, gratitude, awe, and the sheer wonder of it all.

Transfiguration Sunday celebrates a high holy moment in the ministry of Christ–the day when he stood on a mountain, suddenly and miraculously joined by Moses and Elijah. himself transformed and glowing. That’s what that night felt like to me. Hope strengthened by heritage created a moment which stands out from all the rest. It was a moment that said, “This is what it’s all about. It’s all right here. And it is sacred.”

Categorized as Blog, Faith

By Aileen MItchell Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 35 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.