Awe and Wonder: Exactly as it should be

For me, it doesn’t take long to find awe inspiring words, people, places and things.  Awe, for me, is the feeling of wonder, that something is exactly what it should be.  I’m experiencing it, the perfection.  That this is the closest to God I can get.

Laying on my back at night on the top of the tower at The Mountain retreat center to watch shooting stars for hours.

Sitting in a forest on a windy day and watching the trees wave in the breeze and wondering if I didn’t know what wind was, what would I think was going on?

Coming to the edge of the Grand Canyon and see the enormity of it.  And the beauty.  How can it exist?

Watching Leonel Messi shoot a penalty kick that defies all physics to go into the top corner of the net just out of reach of the goalie’s glove.

Every time that I am conscious that my mind is working at top performance.

I’ve been a labor and delivery nurse for twenty years now.  When someone finds out what I do, they always say “What an awesome job, it must be so fun.”  Most the time it is.  Like any job, you have ups and downs.  Actually the most fun comes out of my relationships with my women coworkers, who are mostly very warped.  But being awed by the birth of a baby, it comes and goes.  My older nurse friends talk about how we maintain the joy and awe in the bringing of life when each year we are increasing the amount of computer charting, systems and safeguards that leave us mentally exhausted many times.  Ya know, delivering a baby is fairly simple.  Charting about the legal side of it is not.

But in the end for me, it’s the parents that are awe inspiring.  If I have the time to learn their story, it’s usually a pretty good one.  Planned pregnancies, accidents, falling in love, hoping for the future, losses- they set them apart and make them special.

One of my favorites was the tall Marine who cried like a baby when his daughter was born and then later offered me money because he had to go on Medicaid and felt ashamed.

The moms who upon delivering their baby lean forward and grab the baby all wet to their chest and hold it tightly and start sobbing.  That always gets me.

The scrawny little preemies that thrive, the perfect babies that die.

Of course, the wonder, daily, of how that big head comes out of that little hole. That is the epitome of wonder and fear.

My renewed goal at work is to make the time to make the connections, turn off the patient’s tv during delivery, help them to become aware of the awesomeness of the moment so that they can have one of the best times of their lives.  And I get to share that with them.  How lucky am I?

Sandi O’Toole


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1 Response to Awe and Wonder: Exactly as it should be

  1. Margaret Townsend says:

    Besutifully said. I can revisit this awe and wonder over 40 years later. . .and the joy and gratitude for those who assisted.

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