Everything changed in first ‘big God moment’

Categories: From the Director

I’m ashamed at how long it took me to fully appreciate God’s role in my life.

As a younger man, I thought any success I experienced was because of my own efforts: “I worked hard” or “I studied hard” (that would be a lie) or “I came up with that idea.”

I’ve always believed in God, although I did not always act as though I believed.

Perhaps like many of you, I kept God on a shelf until I desperately needed divine help or intervention, at which time I would fervently implore God’s mercy, aid and, often, forgiveness.

I had numerous “little God moments” over the course of my life. You know — a beautiful sunset, an inspiring or moving story or some experience that would stir a sense of God within me.

Drama of new life

But in early 1979 I witnessed the first of my “big God moments,” in a birthing room of a small town hospital. This experience was repeated three times; while each event was unique, each was exactly like the others.

My role in these particular dramas was to stand by the head of my wife’s bed, breathing with her in rapid staccato breaths, lightly clenching my teeth to make a series of “s-s-s” sounds.

We’d learned the Lamaze method and I was her “coach.” Lamaze was designed to bring about a pain-free delivery, and it worked like a charm for me. I don’t recall feeling a thing, so long as I stayed outside the reach of her flailing arms.

A card-carrying, certified sissy when it comes to the sight of blood, I ignored the doctor’s summons to join him where the action was to take place. “I should stay up here and coach,” I told him, as I intensified my breaths and hisses.

“No,” he said, “I think you should come now.”

I was happy to see that “ground zero” was well draped and lit with an intensely bright lamp, making it almost appear to be a Broadway stage. (I half-expected to hear Ed McMahon: “He-e-e-e-re’s Johnny!”)

It was all God

The crown of a tiny head appeared. I had no idea what it was until two eyes blinked at me and a gaping mouth filled the room with a quivering cry — a song that stirred me to the depth of my being.

God’s handiwork — life springing from life, love springing from love — obliterated any sense of the visceral.

This was all spirit. It was all God.

And I’ve not lost track of God’s intimate workings in my life to this day.

Good stewards, let’s pay attention to God’s presence in our everyday, ordinary lives this week.

And then let’s respond in prayers of praise and gratitude.

Curt Hanson, Director of Stewardship and Development, Diocese of Saint Cloud