Ginny, my former student, had an amazing story to tell at the recent high school reunion. Ginny is one of the best and the brightest–everyone likes to be around her. She’s funny, a great storyteller, and on the whole, as cheery an individual as you could every hope to meet. But that hasn’t always been the case. A few years back in the very month she graduated there was a terrible car accident and her best friend, Amy, was killed. Amy and Ginny had been inseparable all senior year. They had just said goodbye for the summer, and were looking forward to being close to each other in neighboring colleges in the fall. Then two weeks later, in the blink of an eye, Amy was gone forever.
Ginny told me she was devastated to the point of despair. How could this be? What does it mean, when life is so cruel that someone is snatched away in the prime of life? How can we begin to make sense of this?
Then Ginny got some more shocking news. Her mother was going to have a baby. She had been quite young when Ginny was born, and now wanted to start a family with her new husband. Ginny was really upset. All she could think was, “How can you do this? How can you bring another child into this horrible world of pain and suffering, where you’re doomed to death the minute you are born?” She was so angry she could barely speak to her mother.
She started college but it didn’t work out. Grief had taken over. Thoughts of Amy haunted her day and night. She dropped out after a semester and didn’t know what to do with herself. She was about as deep into the Slough of Despond as a person can get.
Then something happened. Her baby sister was born. Ginny took one look at her and fell in love. “As soon as I saw this tiny little life, everything changed. My little sister is the joy of my life. I love her so much, I can’t even find the words. And as she’s gotten older, it just gets better and better.” Here Ginny began to choke up. “ She drew me out of this dark place—I can’t even describe it.”
This is the Sacrament of Birth, that transcendent joy so deeply felt, so beyond words that you don’t even feel like you’re on Planet Earth any more. You’ve found a special connection with another human being and that makes life worth living. The joy of those first moments can lift you out of the deepest depression, and as the child grows and begins to walk, talk, and laugh, the bonds only grow stronger.
Ginny says the birth of her sister was her salvation…
Is it too much to say that Ginny herself was born again?