And Time Stood Still [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Lynn Hartz
eBook Category: Spiritual/Religion
eBook Description: The midwife, Lydia, is the first person to touch the baby Jesus. As she watches Him grow up, her own life changes.
eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net, Published: 1999
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2005
3 Reader Ratings:
The Older Travelers
Lydia, a midwife, and her husband, Samuel, with their friends Salome and her husband, Aaron, had been traveling together for four days. They were on their way to Bethlehem to register with the government and to be taxed, as the Roman Governor had ordered. All of the travelers were weary. Lydia knew that they must be getting close because there were more and more people along the road.
"How long do you think it will be until we get there?" Lydia asked with a grin as she slipped off her sandals and massaged her feet.
"You sound just like my children did when they were little," Salome replied while she sat down to rest.
"It has been a long time since they were small. I feel old now that the grandchildren are here," Lydia said. "My son, Joab, has two little boys, and Miriam has a little girl that looks just like she does." Lydia removed her head covering and shook out her hair, then readjusted the covering.
"I know," Salome went on. "I saw Miriam's baby several weeks ago. She really does look like her mother. Miriam seems happy being a mother." Salome began to stretch her arms and legs.
"She is," Lydia answered. "James is an exceptionally good husband and father. He thinks Baby Deborah is the second best thing that has happened to him," Lydia laughed. "He says the first best thing is Miriam."
"By the way, that is the last baby I helped to bring into the world," Lydia confided. "It was a most unusual experience, delivering my own grandchild."
"Well, I would certainly think so," Salome responded. "Wonder what those husbands of ours are doing?"
The road they were traveling was hilly and rocky. The sun was beating down upon them and very hot. The dry air caused everything to feel warmer and make everyone thirsty. Their clothing and bodies picked up the road dust and caused the travelers to feel grimy.
"Samuel says the animals are refreshed and we should be, too," Lydia told Salome. "Men think we women can just go and go and keep on going. I think I will fill my water pouch before we continue."
"I'd better do the same," Salome decided.
As the travelers continued their journey, Lydia thought about the new baby, her granddaughter, Deborah. She had delivered many babies, but the experience of helping Miriam's child into the world was an experience that she could not express in words. Miriam had an extensive and long labor, as so many first mothers do, and then the baby had poked one foot out before anything else was ready to emerge. She pushed the child's foot back into the mother's womb and then forcibly turned the baby in order to get the child out.
Miriam screamed with the agony of the baby being pushed back inside of her and turned. Lydia would have done anything not to have done that. She would rather have borne Miriam's pain herself as to have her daughter suffer.
"You know, Salome, I don't think I will deliver any more babies. I don't think I should continue being a midwife. After what I did with Miriam, I just don't think I can do it anymore," Lydia lamented. "Look at my hands. Already they are twisted and the joints are swollen. I have had enough of pain and suffering, and I think I am too getting too old."
"That is just simply not true," Salome admonished, gently. "Besides, you haven't trained anyone to take your place. Who will do this work if you haven't trained anyone, yet?"
"Well, I really hadn't thought about it. I am so weary. I thought Miriam would die or the baby would die, or both of them would die," she remembered.
"I do believe you need a rest," Salome observed.
"Perhaps. Either a rest or some inspiration so I don't feel as isolated and alone when I do this work," Lydia thought aloud. Then, changing the subject quickly, she asked Samuel, in a very loud voice, "How much farther?"
"About half a day and we will be there," Samuel called back. He and Aaron had several sheep, goats and horses to try to keep together. They were all walking, giving the animals a rest.
Aaron walked back to Salome. "If you need, you can ride a while," he told her.
"I am all right," Salome answered. "Lydia and I are enjoying our time talking together."
The two ladies continued their banter about men, babies, children and growing older. Neither woman was old. Lydia was just past her thirty-fifth year, and Salome was just a bit younger.
"Time does have a way of slipping by, doesn't it?" Lydia asked.
"It does. It seems like only yesterday that our sons, Jonathan and Saul, were boys playing with your Joab. Time is a strange thing, isn't it? It can go so fast at times and right now we are so tired that it just seems to drag," Salome mused.
"I know. The day and night that I helped Miriam deliver the baby seemed like an eternity," Lydia said, continuing the thoughts that Salome had started. "I thought it would never end and that the baby would never get here. It felt as though a thousand years passed in those few hours."
"It must have been extremely difficult, but, please, don't say that you're going to quit. What if someone really needs you and there is no one else to help?" Salome questioned pensively. Salome, so practical and logical, could not imagine Lydia turning away someone in need.
"I would have to do what I can, I'm sure," Lydia said.
The weary travelers came closer to the little town of their destination. Bethlehem.