Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wisdom Found in Summer Reading

This summer I am thankful that I have had time to do some reading for pleasure. During the school year I feel guilty reading for fun because more cases than not, I am procrastinating on real work and school reading I should be doing.

I just finished reading a book called Call the Midwife, by Jennifer Worth, which I first heard about because it has also been made into a TV series playing on PBS (originally BBC). Long story short, the book is a memoir of a young nurse who unknowingly goes to live at a convent while she furthers her experience in midwifery in the slums of London, circa 1950. Each chapter is the story of a different interesting patient, or a particular struggle of being a young nurse, or an experience that could only happen while living amongst nuns. 

On one of the very last pages Jennifer, the young nurse and also the author, is talking with one of the nuns. Inquiring as to why this nun had left a home of privilege to become a nun and serve the lowest class people of London, Jennifer asked, "Was it love of people?" Sister Monica Joan, who was known for her quick tongue and what I like to call sassiness, quickly responded,

"Of course not. How can you love ignorant, brutish people who you don't even know? Can anyone love filth and squalor? Or lice and mice? Who can love aching weariness, and carry on working, in spite of it? One cannot love these things. One can only love God, and through His grace come to love His people."

Somehow this "sassy nun" (I imagine that these two words are hardly ever used simultaneously) summed up a thought that I have been trying to articulate in my quiet times for weeks. We, as broken/sinful humans, are nothing and can do nothing if it were not for the grace and mercy of our God. We cannot take credit for anything except having a heart that is open to God's love. Thank you Sister Monica Joan for saying what I could not unscramble in my own head!

Cast from the BBC series
While you may have to be in nursing school, or just not be grossed out about graphic birthing lingo, to appreciate some of the scenarios in the book, I would highly recommend Call the Midwife for anyone looking for a last minute summer read! 


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