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“Life Expectancy: On Not Praying for a Miracle”

December 5, 2009

Ethan's fingers

Several months ago I shared about the beautifully painful funeral for Ethan Olson-Getty, the new-born son of my friends Dayna and Eric.  Twenty weeks into Dayna’s pregnancy they had received devastating news that their baby had a birth defect.

Dayna reflects on this journey in Christian Century magazine, a meditation on how “the choice of some of our friends to pray for a miracle has made me think hard about what I pray for and how I pray.”

Dayna speaks of embracing “the strange and unexpected tasks of parenting” which in their case calls them to “care for [Ethan] in his dying.”  She speaks powerfully to what it means to faithfully receive tasks we have not expected to carry out in our lives.  Writes Dayna:

“Although I haven’t found the strength to buy anything, I’ve begun to think about the kind of clothes Ethan will need for his birth and burial.  All the while, he kicks away inside of my womb, letting us know that he is still full of life and energy.  These are not the tasks I expected to carry out during pregnancy—and they are certainly not on the monthly to-do lists in my pregnancy books—but they are what Ethan needs from us now.”

Read the full Christian Century article Life Expectancy: On Not Praying for a Miracle

About the Author: Chris Rice is co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.  He is author of Reconciling All Things, Grace Matters, and More Than Equals. He writes regularly at the blog Reconcilers.

Related Reconcilers Posts: Parenting Begins at Conception

Also see: Dayna’s blog Dayna’s Musings

Last 5 posts on the Reconcilers Blog:

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 6, 2009 11:40 am

    I’ve appreciated Dayna’s thoughtful reflections on prayer coming out of Ethan’s birth and death. Every Christian has to negotiate such storms in the way that the Spirit leads, which will always be the right way for that person. For some Christians praying for what they want God to do, with full readiness to accept what God actually does or does not do is also a way of integrity that is equally mature and theologically responsible.

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