Loving Hard People: reflections from Call the Midwife

Having a deep love for memoirs my friend lent me a book. Sceptical by its new TV show cover and medical terminology I started the book with a little interest and finished it as a well loved friend.

Call the Midwife (also known as the Midwife) is an incredible story of God’s redemptive hand in the life of a midwife in 1950s London. As stories of deplorable conditions and enduring people unfold, you get to witness the growing faith of our narrator. Through tenderly caring for women of all sorts, from all backgrounds and stories, Jennifer herself comes to understand how she has been tenderly loved.

Through these pages I was given a glimpse into the lives of extraordinary women who lived ordinary lives well beyond the hard I have had to face. Through each encounter I felt my heart softening, my compassion and empathy growing towards the hearts of hard people in my own life, whose very lives might mirror those on the pages.

I began to consider what people today might be facing, the hard that they’ve been handed and have walked into. Hard beyond anything my own imagination could conjure, but that Jennifer so graciously walked into to and revealed to me. She showed me how similar we all are beyond race, social status, cleanliness and even intellectual ability. In this equality, I can see how deserving we all are of love, to love one another because we are all human, all created.

Knowing this equality and divine right doesn't make it any easier to love and serve those that are different than us, as I found out when I served at a camp for adults with disabilities. Feeding a grown individual, stepping alongside filth and stench, brushing up against disease and disabilities is not easy but a calling we are called to, though some more boldly than others.

We are all called to walk in the unknown, to step into the hard, to leave the comforts of this world behind, loving fiercely, boldly and without reservation because it is how we have been loved. This way of living is not natural nor instinctual for any human. Sure we might love a friend but an enemy, sure we might love our family but a stranger?

How does one do this?

“How can you love ignorant, brutish people whom you don’t even know? Can anyone love filth and squalor? Or lice and rats/ who can love aching and weartiness, and carry on working, in spite of it? One cannot love these things. One can only love God, and through His grace come to love His people.”

Jennifer Worth quoting Sister Monica Joan in Call the Midwife.

We are called to love God and His love and grace will help shape and mold our hearts to love His people.

How beautifully profound, the very essence of Christianity, a reminder to pause and step back. Our works come out of a changed heart, changed by the very love of God known in the depths of our soul.

One cannot change his own heart, it’s futile, I’ve tried. It is only under patient discipling, under the constant work of returning to the Savior, under the revelation of His own love for us, that we can do the work of walking in obedience rooted in faith in the Father, of trusting and leaning and seeking His grace as we try to faithfully love those He’s called us to.

The work of a saint is one of constant remembering to return to the Lord. That first we are called to love God and through His love and grace love His people. Jennifer Worth’s story is beautiful, not pretty, grimy and deep and well written showing us that loving hard people comes only from God. I would take it even further and say that there are only hard people and to love at all is to know God.

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I'm Sarah Jean, a midwestern girl just writing about my walk in faith. I love pizza, dog snuggles and my husband B. I want to encourage other woman to know that they are never alone.