Chrysalis, Catacomb, Cloud Part 1

Macha Chmakoff, At the Foot of the Cross (1990)

Guest Post
Jen Hinst-White

How did I never notice before? An ultrasound room has all the markings of a ceremonial space—a theater of mystery. The lighting is dim. You enter via ritual: undress, sit in this chair, clothe yourself in paper. The monitor is mounted so high on the wall that your eyes naturally go upward, as they would to a comet or reddening eclipse. You wait. And then you see things invisible to the human eye.

Throw in an attractive virgin and some hallucinatory vapors, and you’ve got yourself a perfect Greek oracle. But my sonographer’s name is Alison, she is dressed in cheerful scrubs, and she seems sober enough.

“This is number two?” she says.

My husband Rob sits in the corner behind me, with Charlie, our three-year-old, on his lap. [Read more...]

The Mystery Inside Me

For the past nine months, I feel like I’ve been at a standstill. A place in which I have no words, nothing to describe what is happening to me, and in me.

In six weeks, I am due to give birth to my first child, a son, and although I have had flashes of deep joy and extreme fear (often occurring in the same day), what has marked my life as an expectant mother the most is this sense of complete, undeniable uncertainty. For the first time in my life, I have no idea what to expect; I have no game plan, no hook of events upon which to hang doubts and anticipations.

All I know is that this little boy, whose feet twist into my ribs even as I write, is coming.

Labels have always been a source of comfort for me. As a child, I collected the flimsy certificates that teachers handed out at the end of the school year, the ones that said Top Achiever, Super Star, Best in the Class. When I moved onto my college campus, I introduced myself to classmates with a vigorous wave and the following words: “Hi, my name is Allison, and I want to be a high school teacher.” [Read more...]

Seeking and Sought by God

I did not enter a church until I was in third grade. My friend Vicky, who always wore long jean skirts and seemed to be liked by everybody, invited me to a Sunday school competition where she would be quizzed on Bible verses.

I remember dirt-colored shag carpet, wooden pews, a crowd of stern-looking women gathered around a microphone, their khaki skirts brushing their Keds. I remember Vicky standing beside them, unsure of how to phrase the lines of Psalm 23—was it a rod? A staff?

And I remember running up to the microphone myself, eager to talk, completely clueless about the Psalm. “It’s rod! It’s rod!” I said, unaware that my jeans and my loud voice were twisting the women’s frowns into tighter knots.

“That is incorrect,” one said. “Please sit down.” [Read more...]


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