To Introduce the Stars

Vincent Van Gough's "The Starry Night."
Vincent Van Gough’s “The Starry Night.”

“There is something beautiful about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He is doing. They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz.  And as I lay there, it occurred to me that God is up there somewhere.”
― Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

There is just something about a starry night. I love stars because they are  both seemingly random, and magnificently predictable…. both brilliantly solid from our point of view, and intangibly vaporous.

Their brilliance and number give us pause.

Today during worship at church, the band led us in a song about God that mentions stars, quoting Psalms 147:4:

“He counts the stars,
  and assigns each a name.”

So many stars!

We humans like to number the stars too, although we admit there are too many billions to count. We name them things like Ursa Major, Yed Posterior, and BSC 6067; and catalog them by groupings into constellations.

The constellations are so consistent, night after night for thousands of years, that we can navigate ships by their design.  Seemingly eternal, the stars have all the time in the world to guide us.

Human science has determined that stars are but fixed, luminous points of  incandescent celestial bodies, burning as the sun.

And human seekers have determined that the same stars create a zodiac system that can set the course of their lives.

How much power in the Cosmos! How badly we want to explain their workings…

But as I sang the words of the Psalmist (and when my soul quieted enough to hear the Holy Spirit) a vision emerged that transcended astrological phenomenon.

I imagined the Crafter of the universe –  and all that is beyond it –  taking me by the hand to introduce the stars – one by one, by name.

What an odd image brought to my mind!

But what a comfort to my spirit.

Not the clinical, but the mystical – more majestic than can ever be cataloged. You see, I need something more predicable than even the stars to lead me.  I need something that lasts longer than the average life-span of a star – 15 billion years.

I need a forever God.

God – who knows what he’s doing with a billion stars –taking me by the hand. A God who could touch my life from a trillion miles away, coming close enough to breathe light into me, because he loves me – and you – more than a billion stars.

God – steadfast his brilliance, day after day, night after night….even though I am such a paradox, myself  – random and predictable… a vapor on this spinning orb, but eternally a solid being.

Me, you,  and the stars…

Our Creator has all the time in the world to guide us.

Breast Practices – supporting nursing mothers

fresco
Fresco of Maria Lactans (literal translation: Mary as a nursing mother) at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Agliate, Italy.
As you can see, Mary is breastfeeding Jesus without so much as a blankie covering her shoulder.
Also, I can find no evidence that Mary – in either a fresco representation, nor the concordance of my Bible – fed him in a bathroom.

By: Jana Greene

A young mother on an afternoon shopping trip at the mall juggles her fussy, hungry four-month old son. She needs to feed him, so she:

a) Sits on a bench in front of Victoria’s Secret store, and digs through the diaper bag for a bottle of formula. Her son quiets instantly as she feeds him. Shoppers smile as they pass by, because everybody loves a baby –  particularly a quiet one. Everyone loves to see a mommy caring for her child.

b) Sits on a bench in the mall – this time in the Food Court –  and digs through a diaper bag for a receiving blanket. She drapes it over her shoulder and  lifts her blouse underneath discreetly, and with a swift motion of the other arm, cradles her four-month-old son to her breast. Her son quiets instantly as she feeds him. Many shoppers either avert their eyes or make snarky comments amongst themselves as they pass by (some make them intentionally  loud enough for the young mother to hear) – Because everyone loves a baby, but apparently not everyone loves to see a mommy caring for her child.

Which of the mother’s feeding choices do you find most offensive?

As it so happens, a mother shopping at an actual Victoria’s Secret store in Austin, Texas was asked not to nurse her infant in the store at all. Not even in a dressing room. It was suggested by employee that – are you sure you’re ready to finish reading this? – she nurse him in “the alley.”

Ahhhh. You can spend hundreds of dollars on bras in an effort to lift and separate,  push ’em up and hold ’em down – so long as you don’t use them in a practical manner. It would seem that the Land of Silk and Money is NOT the Land of Milk and Honey.

Shouldn’t we find  floor-to-ceiling-sized posters of nearly-naked super models (whose boobs are so exposed that only her areolas are covered by strategically-placed feathers) a bit more offensive than a breastfeeding mother? Breasts are made for feeding babies. If that makes you uncomfortable, take it up with God – it was His big idea. He designed them perfectly for it, long before plastic bottles and rubber nipples. Society has managed – as is so often the case – to make something pure and natural into something perverse.

(By the way, my  least-favorite reaction to a breastfeeding mother is: “Well, SEX is natural, too – but I don’t want to see anyone else doing it.” In what alternate universe is nursing a baby “like having sex?” Answer: In no universe. What a wildly inappropriate comparison!)

When my daughters were babies – and even into toddler-hood – I nursed discreetly  in malls, and concerts; in the park, and on “Its a Small World” at Disneyworld. I was living life and raising kids. We were on the go, and many times I thanked God for the convenience and economy of lactation – not to mention the bonding between mother and child in ensures. Who has time for fooling with bottles?

Once, when my firstborn was about six months old, I was feeding her at a museum, on a bench in a quiet, darkened hallway. I had a light blanket loosely over my shoulder,  fully covering my breast (and my baby’s head, face, and shoulders.) Only her tiny legs and feet were exposed, kicking happily. A couple walked by.

“She should nurse that baby in the bathroom,” said the woman.

Here is what I wanted to say: “Do you enjoy eating your lunch in the bathroom? Most of us don’t. I’m pretty sure my daughter doesn’t either!”

But I’m a wimp, so instead, my face burned a little. Her statement did what she had  intended – embarrassed me. But only momentarily; I knew that I was doing what was best for my child.

Can a nursing mother be 100% discreet all of the time? Sometimes babies pull away for a moment to hiccup. Sometimes the chug too fast and choke a bit, in which case they suddenly sit up.  And yes, you regularly have to switch sides, folks (that old “supply and demand thing.) If you see a mother and baby in a “nip slip” and for that instant your delicate sensibilities are offended, look away.  If you “don’t need to see it,” don’t stare.

Now – If it doesn’t bother you to see it, give the mother a little smile.  She is doing what is (sadly) considered a brave thing these days…a much, much braver thing to do than what is socially acceptable (Victoria Secret model displaying her perfect breasts in billboard-sized glory.)

The nursing mother is just feeding her baby as humankind has been nourished since the dawn of time. Somehow our more primitive ancestors “got” what we have  lost.

Breastfeeding is what boobs are for.

Of Wit and Whiskers – new blog featuring kitties!

Hello, dear readers.

I am just popping in to let you know that I have added another blog to my body of work.

www.OfWitAndWhiskers.wordpress.com is a lighter blog, and is geared toward Cat Lovers (and how I became one after loathing the furry creatures most of my life.) See? Much lighter fare.

I will continue to focus on recovery, of course. Check this page, and www.WilmingtonFAVS.com, for my other blogs. As always, thank you so much for your readership! God bless you and yours.