37 Hours

It started days before.  We had gone the length of Val’s pregnancy getting ready for Carter’s arrival. At the first sign of labor, I took her to the hospital.  They checked her out and sent us home.  It wasn’t time yet.

The pain wouldn’t stop.

We went back again and was turned away.  Finally, around midnight, Val was in serious discomfort and I drove her to the ER.  They admitted her into the maternity ward.  I remember standing by her side as the doc pulled up a chair and watched the heart monitor fixed to Carter’s readout.  For almost fifteen minutes he watched before telling us it would be a c section that needed to happen as soon as possible.

I was in scrubs and ready until a nurse came in and told me the drugs hadn’t hit Val quick enough and she felt the incision, so they put her to sleep. I wouldn’t be allowed in.

I sat on a gurney next to Tara, my sister-in-law, and waited again.

Just after ten that night, and almost forty hours of labor, they wheeled him out wrapped in his blanket.

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I held him until Val was recovered enough from the procedure to join us in the room. He didn’t cry, shifting his eyes to me and just watching.  My boy, dark hair and eyes, looking at me and asking now what?

The dark hair is now blonde and his eyes are now hazel like his mother’s. He has more energy than I’ve ever had. He’s pushed me to places I’ve never experienced before and taught me things about myself. He’s complicated, strong, emotional, intense and loving. He has a way with words that cuts to my heart.

Tomorrow is his birthday.

So thank you Carter, for everything. I pray I can live up to what you need and be the dad you deserve. One day, years from now, you’ll dig this up on whatever passes for a smartphone and read it and smile, I hope.

We love you.

~Matt

Faith and Life in Action: Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center

I met Sherry Camelleri, Executive Director of Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center, one afternoon and we had a deep conversation about faith, poverty, family, and life.  Sherry has been with the Center since 1996.  In our interaction together, her passion to help the families in the city of Reading was clear. I was honored to visit a few more times since then to interview staff, drop off donations, and witness the Christmas program. We must be concerned about the national plight of children in poverty.  Mercy fights this battle one day at a time. Here’s Sherry:

 

It was Monday morning. He was overwhelmed. Three little girls to care for and their mom was now doing time in Berks County Prison. No family to help. So, he came to Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center. The volunteer introduced him to Jesus Christ. Supplies, parenting education, referral to a good local church, but Jesus Christ changed his heart and life, and the lives of his children.

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That day, and every day the doors of Mercy CCPC are open and volunteers serve, they do so as an act of FAITH – not faith in what we can do, but FAITH in WHO God is, FAITH in the heart and life changing power of Jesus Christ.

Scripture provides examples of heroes of faith, Hebrews 11:

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Ordinary individuals who faced obstacles unfamiliar to us today– we have not been asked to build an ark or hide spies. However, we face situations that look impossible for us to solve.

The commonality among the heroes of faith and us – we are called to live out our faith. Serving at Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center IS an act of FAITH – knowing WHO we serve and that HE IS faithful to use our simple acts of service to bring a harvest for His glory.

You can find Mercy’s website here, including information on available programs and donations.  They can always use volunteers so, if you have the time, please pray and consider it today.

Feel Good Friday 9/12/2004

On August 25th, at a shooting range in Arizona, instructor Charles Vacca was accidentally shot and killed by a young girl operating an Uzi. The girl’s mother caught the shooting on her cell phone as she was recording her daughter at the time. Vacca’s four children have penned a letter to the girl and it includes thoughts like this:

“We think about you. We are worried about you. We pray for you, and we wish you peace. Our dad would want the same thing.”

Imagine both sides of this story.  The children on will live with it for the rest of their lives.  I’m curious about the idea that kids as young as nine are allowed to shoot an automatic weapon at a range but, the sentiments of the victim’s kids are what should shine at this moment.  How many of us could say or do the same if we had lost a loved one?

I’ve said before that children are the future of this country and, when I read this, I believe it just may be true.  You can find the story here.

 

Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center

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Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center is located across from the Reading Main Library on 5th Street in the city of Reading.  I met with the director, Sherry Camelleri, on a hot summer afternoon in late July.  Mercy opened in 1990. It offers parental education courses, pregnancy tests, information on adoption and medical services, liquid formula, shoes, and clothing for children.  The staff consists of Camelleri, her assistant, and a crew of volunteers.  They receive no funding from the government and every item of supplies is donated.

When we toured the clothing room, most of the bins and racks had a good selection of various sizes.  One bin stood empty and waiting for new donations of socks.

“Winter coats are gold here,” she told me, “we had a family of four sending only one child to school each day in the winter because they had one coat to pass around.  The three other kids stayed home.”

Mercy serves wide range of ages, from teenagers dealing with pregnancy to those later on in life. The doors are also open to men facing unplanned pregnancies who have the desire to better themselves as fathers.  Camelleri’s passion is to meet people where they are, earn their trust, and make their lives better.

Her drive is for the children and, if your are looking to support a valuable outreach, please consider donating here. You can check the main page of Mercy’s website for available services, hours, and contact information.

~Matt

Soundtrack Inspiration: A great song to start the weekend