UTNE Reader-March - Jill Herzig

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UTNE Reader - March - Jill Herzig

Hot Potato Wisdom, Tips From My Straight Shooting Grandma, Lillie Lutkin, seems an unlikely place to get a topic to write about. I had a difficult time finding an article in this issue that interested me. I kept skipping this one, because I was turned off by the title. After finally reading it, I was very moved by the quotes and felt compelled to reflect and write on them.

Because I have recently had a baby I am very sensitive to the wonders of birth and I have the opportunity to spend time with my newborn and marvel at the gift of life. The quote that moved me begins with a comparison to men that though I find slightly humorous, I feel detracts from the power of the passage. It states in part that "Women can do anything men can do and more. Do men really believe the proper use of a screwdriver means a higher intelligence level? When you have a baby you will know a secret that no man can ever know. You may forget it later, but for a little while you will know that within yourself you hold another's life. This puts the ability of the screwdriver in its place. Nowhere." I find as a mother, this is true. I have felt the miracle of life within and have looked with awe upon my newborn to see the goodness in the world around me. I realize that as a mother this experience is uniquely my own and anyone who has not gone through it cannot understand the magnitude of the feeling it brings forth.

If I were to have written this passage, I would not have alienated men, I would have chosen to include fathers. They also have the ability to witness the birth of something they helped create with a loving partner and can nurture it and watch it grow to become something beautiful. The way the quote is slanted, it portrays the men in a negative light, which I think could have been omitted to show the value of birth to both men and women.

The final excerpt also has to do with children and is very moving. It tells of the death of a child from a mother's perspective. " If you ever lose a child the way I did, then you will know the other side of the truth. You'll understand what it means to be destroyed and still get up everyday and fill the kettle with water. You will see steam from the kettle and weep, insisting that nothing is wrong. A piece of dirt flew up and lodged beneath your eyelid. That's all. On the street, tears will fall onto the sidewalk and fill up your shoes. Say the sun is in your eye. Maybe you have pinkeye. If you show your grief, it won't go away. If you keep it secret, it won't go away. It is with you forever and ever, but there may be an hour when you don't remember. An evening when the sky is blue as ink. An afternoon when your daughter runs after a cricket she will never catch. Whisper your baby's name. Then be quiet. If you're lucky, you'll hear the name said back to you every time you close your eyes." This is a sorrowful glimpse into the private pain of the author. I found it very meaningful and anyone who has lost someone dear, not just a child, should be able to relate to this. I can feel the author's pain and am able to sense the sadness that must fill her life.

With the gift of life there is always an element of risk. We are able to share in the beauty that it has to offer but also just as easily despair in its grief. Life as we know is never easy. Creating life is a gift from God and how that life is led and when it will end is not up to us to understand. We must be grateful for what we have been given and trust that we will be shone the best path to follow. If grief is to follow us we must be strong with faith that it is for a bigger purpose and accept that we will one day be united with those we love.

-- Anonymous, March 01, 1999

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