I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME
(Intermittent Waves Recorded From The Transformed Heart Of A Woman)
AUNTIE YONNY: ZENOBIA, PART 2
Faith, Having No Respect of Person
James 2:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Zenobia was still doling out orders to Jake, when she reached Rachel's room. She handed Jake her cellphone and he listened to her obediently.
"Have someone cancel my limousine and my flight to Trinidad. Call my brother, Nigel and tell him that I had to cancel my flight and not to wait for me at the airport. Tell him that I am alright, but, I had an unexpected emergency, and that I will call him as soon as I am finished helping a patient."
When Zenobia entered Rachel's room, Rachel was in too much distress to acknowledge her presence. She felt extremely hot and relentless pressure in her back was increasing, each time she had another big contraction. She clenched her teeth together, holding her breath, believing she would lose her mind if the pain didn't stop. Zenobia, walked into the room and watched Rachel struggling to fight the pain. Her first words were...
"Breathe, Rachel, Breathe! Slow breaths! Concentrate on your breathing! Breathe and let it out slowly."
Rachel didn't recognize the voice, but she immediately heeded the advice. Opening her eyes, she saw Zenobia, who headed for the bathroom to wash and sterilize her hands.
Rachel's eyes widened in surprise and partly in fear. Jake saw her reaction and reassured her of Zenobia's intentions.
"It's alright...she's going to help you. Zenobia is a nurse practitioner and one of the best."
Putting on gloves from the tray that came rolling into the room, at top speed, with one of the security guards, Zenobia observed Rachel to start timing her contractions.
"That's good, sweetheart. You're breathing better, now. Keep it up. I'm going to time your contractions. Let me know when you feel one coming on. I hate to do this to you, but, I need to feel the position of the baby and see how far your cervix has dilated. I'll try to be gentle. If you start having a contraction, let me know. Try to keep breathing like you're breathing, now, no matter what I do."
Ricardo, the security guard, came rushing into the room. Seeing Rachel and Zenobia, he knew exactly what to do. He began prepping the tray and making a list of needed supplies. He'd helped to deliver babies while working in make-shift clinics in jungles and deserts; this, along with his experience as a combat medic, taught him to be ready, work fast, and improvise.
Zenobia, was a professional. She had delivered babies before, but, this was Rachel and she was having Hal's baby. She told herself to erase those thoughts from her mind and concentrate on the patient. She calmed her nerves, wiped the sweat from her brow, and asked Ricardo to get her a glass of water. At the mention of water, Rachel started panting.
"C-can, can I, can I have some water, too?"
"No, sweetheart. I'm sorry, but, I'll have someone get you some ice chips. You can have a little of those to cool you down."
Rachel, felt as if she would die of thirst, but, she understood why she couldn't drink water, now.
Ricardo came in with some clean white sheets and bed pads, put them on the bed, then, went back to work. Zenobia spread one sheet over Rachel's legs.
" I'm going to feel your stomach to feel the baby, then, I'm going to have you bend your knees and spread your legs, wide. Do you want to take your gown off? You don't have to."
Rachel felt dirty from the rain, so, she nodded her head, yes. Zenobia saw her start to struggle to get the gown off.
"Let me help you, please. I''ll put this sheet over you. Then, I want to put a sheet and pad under you so that you don't worry about getting anything dirty on the bed. Just roll to the side and Ricardo and I will do the rest."
Rachel obeyed. Zenobia's voice was comforting and kind. Zenobia was gentle and helpful--a mother-like figure. Besides her being an extremely beautiful woman, she could see why Hal would be attracted to her. She had no doubts that Zenobia would be a good mother, as well as a good wife. Another, contraction gripped her, removing her thoughts from Hal and Zenobia. She could only think about the pain. Throughout the contraction, Zenobia called out to her...
"Breathe, Rachel! Don't stop that good breathing you were doing! Breathe and let it out slowly...that's it...good girl."
Zenobia looked at her watch so that she could time the next contraction. Hal had been standing outside of the door, not knowing if he was allowed to go in, or, if he should go in with Zenobia and Rachel in there, together. Guilt had hold of him and kept him immobile. He paced, gripping and pulling his hair, while he listened to Rachel, moan, groan, and cry out in pain. After the contraction, Zenobia began feeling Rachel's stomach.
"Who is your doctor and what hospital are you delivering at?"
"Dr. Maddock. He's with Doctor's East Hospital."
"When is your due date and do you have any health problems?
"I'm due tomorrow, June fourteenth and no, I don't have any health problems."
"Tomorrow?! The first child doesn't usually come on time. This is your first child, isn't it?"
Rachel tried not to be offended at Zenobia asking her if this was her first child. She knew that it was a question that any and all medical professionals would ask.
"Yes, this is my first," she quietly answered, between a slow breath.
"So, you're having a vaginal delivery?"
Zenobia lifted the sheet on top of Rachel's legs.
"Okay, I need you to bend your knees up and spread your legs as wide as you comfortably can. Here, let me help you....that's it. Do you know if you're having a girl or boy?"
"A boy. A-and...and you?"
"I'm having a girl."
Zenobia was about to begin, when she felt Rachel tense up.
This is the part that Rachel had dreaded. It was more than awkward, exposing her body to Hal's fiance and having her to physically examine her. There was no way she could be comfortable. Then, another contraction gripped her. She held onto Zenobia's arm as if holding on to life itself. Zenobia loosened her hand and gripped it in between her hands.
"Hold on, Rachel! Just, breathe, sweetheart! Ride it out! You can do it!"
Zenobia looked at the time, then, looked at Ricardo. The contractions had been very close together. She needed to do the exam right away. Keeping Rachel's hand in hers, she reached for a wet cloth and wiped her face. Then, stroking her hair, she bent down and spoke softly.
"Rachel, the baby is good position, but, your contractions are very close, I need to do a quick exam. We may not have time to get you to the hospital. You've got to help me. I need you to control your breathing, while I check your cervix."
Rachel nodded, loosened her grip on Zenobia and placed her hands upon her stomach.
Ricardo helped Zenobia put on a new pair of gloves and Zenobia began the pelvic exam. Rachel didn't know why, but, she cried out in agony and called out Hal's name.
Hal rushed into the room and stood by the bed looking helpless. He looked at Zenobia with tears in his eyes. Zenobia put her head down, went back to work, and barked out a command to Hal.
"Hold her hand and help her with her breathing!"
Obediently, Hal, took Rachel's hand and began mimicking her breathing.
"That's it Rachel, you're doing good...breathe, baby."
Zenobia's heart sank as she remembered him whispering into her ear, calling her his baby. She held back a tear and continued to work. Feeling the baby's head, she was startled. Ricardo knew something was wrong.
"What's wrong, Zenobia?" He asked.
"We...we've got...the baby's head is crowning."
Ricardo sighed and left the room to prepare. Hal and Rachel looked at Zenobia, very concerned.
"Rachel, you may have a couple of hours or you may not. Do you want to try to get to the hospital? We'll call your doctor and tell him to meet you there. However, moving may speed up the birth. We could call an ambulance, just in case. It looks like you'll be having a natural birth at this point."
Rachel looked at Hal in terror, hoping he could help her. Hal didn't know what to say or do. He opened his mouth, but, nothing coherent came out.
Rachel looked at Zenobia in despair.
"What do you think I should do, Zenobia?"
Zenobia was about to answer, when another contraction gripped Rachel and she began straining and pushing.
"SHE'S PUSHING, HAL! HELP HER BREATHE!"
Hal was too frantic to control his own breathing, but, he tried to calm himself and show Rachel how to breathe.
"Come on, Rache breathe! Slower, slower. That's it! Whoo-whoo-whoo..."
Rachel looked at Zenobia with helpless, tearful eyes.
"Jake, get the wheelchair and tell Ricardo to prepare Mr. Siegfried's room. Rachel, we're going to move you to Mr. Siegfried's room and deliver the baby from there. It's been redesigned for outpatient surgery, in case of an emergency, and we definitely have an emergency."
Faith Without Works Is Dead
James 2:14-18 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Zenobia went to the room she had shared with Hal to lay down. She was filled with so many emotions, that she felt drained from the stress. The delivery hadn't been difficult at all, as deliveries go. She had experienced many different types of delivery complications and a few tragedies during her nursing career. Watching Rachel go through natural childbirth with her first child, made her realize that Rachel was tougher than she thought she was. However, she also realized that she was, too. It took a lot to do what she did, not just skill wise, but, heart wise.
She looked up at the sparkling chandelier hanging from the ceiling, as it caught the sun's rays from the skylight window, casting star-like images upon the ceiling. Tears slowly flowed from her tired eyes. Then, a smile found it's way upward from within a tired, but joyful heart.
Seeing Rachel's baby emerge into the world had been wondrous. Although, she had seen births many times before, it meant more to her because she, too, would soon be a mother. She was overcome with emotions as she held the tiny life within her hands, pulling him gently from the womb into the light, then, watching him take his first breath and experience the world for the first time. She had smiled and laughed as if it were her own child being born. In that moment, nothing else mattered, except life. Something within her heart came alive. In that very real, awakening moment, there was a love and purity that seemed Divine, God given, Holy, and Heavenly blessed. She realized that life should never be taken for granted and the life she held inside of her was so very precious.
Seeing the joy on Hal and Rachel's face seemed natural and she didn't resent them for it. It was as it should be. As she placed the child in Rachel's arms, she was happy for her and Hal. Part of her was confused by what she was feeling and part of her wasn't. Her heart told her that the part that was confused was the part that was still in pain. The renewed feelings in her heart made her realize that she was okay. She was going to survive all of the pain. When the ambulance arrived and she saw Rachel and Hal off to the hospital, with their son, she waved goodbye with joy in her heart. It was still strange to her then, but, she understood more, now.
It had been easy to say that she had faith in God, when little or nothing was required of her to prove it; no personal attachments or responsibilities outside of her job. Her job had become her life. What she did for others, she was paid to do. But, God was looking at her heart and how she extended her faith to others she didn't know, or found difficult to love.
James 2:19-26 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.
24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Her phone began to vibrate and she realized that it had gotten late and she hadn't phoned her brother, Nigel. He was the oldest brother among the six and one year right behind her. He and his wife, Hazel were professors at the local university. Hazel was born on the island of Tobago and she and Nigel met while in college together. They had two teenage boys and a girl. Nigel had always been closest to her out of her nine siblings. She looked at her phone and sure enough, it was Nigel.
"Zenobia, Zenobia! Where are you? I demand that you come home this instant, or, you'll be grounded, young lady!"
"Nigel Agumanu, you are not my father and I am not one of your delinquent teenagers!
"Don't call my teenagers delinquents!"
"Then, why are you always complaining about them?"
"Because, I...I love them! But, tell me that you are coming home, Zenobia. Please, Zenobia! You have to come home! Everyone is expecting you! I told everyone you were coming."
"What do you mean you told, everyone?! Nigel! I don't want everyone knowing. Who is everyone?"
"So you are coming?"
"Then, I'll let everyone know. We're planning video calls with everyone who can't come."
"Who is everyone, Nigel? Can't come to what?"
"Everyone like your best friend, Yolande and her husband, our brothers and sisters and their families, and other important people."
"Like, my best friends, Charles, Fabian, Lennox, their wives, and..."
"And who, Nigel?"
"He asks about you every time I see him. He's been calling since I told him you were coming home this morning. I told him you were pregnant..."
"You did WHAT?!"
"I told him you were pregnant. You are, aren't you? Well, he wants to deliver your baby."
"Whale wants to deliver my baby?"
"No one calls him Whale anymore. We shouldn't have done that. It was very cruel. We were ignorant little children. He's not obese anymore. He lost weight when his parents sent him to boarding school. I believe they were the cause of his overeating. Now, he is taller than me and even you, and he is built like an athlete. He's a doctor now...a surgeon and he is still in love with you."
"In love with me? He doesn't even know me!"
"He's had a crush on you since we were children, but, he was afraid of you."
"Afraid of me? Why would he be afraid of me?"
"Don't you remember? We were all afraid of you, Zenobia. You beat us mercilessly! You beat my friends with sticks and threw rocks at them. All the boys in school ran from you, except, Wendell. Wendell kept coming back for more. He would let you beat him silly, because, he loved you. Now, he is a big, strong man, a highly respected surgeon, and he still loves you. He wants to deliver your baby, but, he is afraid to ask you out of respect. Let him deliver your baby and then, marry him. I am your oldest brother, the man in charge of our family and I demand that you do this! He asked me for permission to court you and I agreed if your first child together is named after me."
"Nigel, I'm going to beat..."
"See, there you go! You are a violent woman, Zenobia! No one will want you if they are afraid of you! Please, Zenobia. Just go out on a date with him, one time, after you have the baby. He's truly a nice, sweet, and stable guy. He would make a great father. You've always taken care of everybody else. Now, it's time to let someone take care of you."
"Nigel, nobody is paying you or Wendell any attention. I told you my stay is only temporary and I might take a position in Swe..."
"I know, Zenobia, but, how will you know that you're doing the right thing, if you don't give him a chance. Please, big sister, do this for me and your other brothers and sisters. We love you and we want to see you happy."
"I'll let you know when I reschedule my flight. Tell Hazel and the kids I said hi. I'll talk to you later and I don't want a party. Bye Nigel."
Zenobia laid in bed thinking about Nigel and her other siblings. They had had some good times and lots of fun in between the hard times. The after effects of President Graves' treachery and the war he helped to bring on were felt worldwide. But, as she thought about their life in Trinidad and Tobago, things weren't as bad as she thought they were. Most importantly, they all had survived, each one, all the better for what they had been through.
As a child, Zenobia became caregiver to the household, when her mother took ill. Their father and then, their mother died when she and her siblings were very young. Zenobia inherited the role and responsibility of both parents, while still in her teens. Her youngest siblings barely had any memory of their parents. Yet, if her mother and father could see what had become of them all, they would be very happy and grateful to God.
Keston became an accountant. He married and had two children, but, he and Justine later divorced. Ayanna, tall and lanky like Zenobia and just as lovely, became a model, working in Italy. Valene, a teacher, married Andrei, a pharmacist and they had four children. Bertrand was away at college in France, working on his PhD in bio-engineering. The twins, Kendall and Shandall were both lawyers with their own law firm. Shandall's husband, Evans, was a banker and they had one child. Russell, who continued to draw on the walls, when he ran out of paper, no matter how many times he was punished, turned out to be an extremely talented and successful artist; and Cyd, the youngest brother, became a contractor.
When he was a little boy, Cyd had made her a promise, because, the house the ten of them lived in was much too small for the size of their family. "Nobi," he said, as he began calling her as a toddler, "I'm going to build you a big, beautiful house one day!" Whenever they spoke, Cyd would remind her of his promise, hoping his beloved Nobi would come home to him, one day. They all wanted her to come back home so that they could take care of her and repay her for taking care of them.
Zenobia, laughed. She didn't want anything from them. She was more than happy with what they had done with their lives. Many times, they had told her that she was mean, her rules were too strict, and her punishment too harsh. Sure, they had had problems, but, as a family, they always leaned upon one another and helped to work things out. When one got a job, they would begin helping the others. She thought about that for a moment. Now, she was used to solving her own problems. Realizing what she had revealed about herself, she felt convicted. All of these years, away from her family, and she had shut them out of her life. Now, they still wanted her to come home. She smiled, thinking about how much her baby would be loved by her family, taken care of, provided for, and perhaps, spoiled rotten. She loved her homeland and it would be a wonderful environment for her child to grow up in.
Then, she thought about Hal. Would he try to have joint custody or demand that he have his daughter half of the time? She didn't know how she felt about her child being in the care of someone else and a part of the Graves Family, let alone, having to be away from her for so long. As much as he worked, Hal wouldn't have much time to spend with their daughter. However, if she worked as a nurse, her time would be limited, also. Zenobia, thought about this, too, for a moment. She really didn't want to give up nursing, but, she wanted to be a good mother, too. She had worked and raised her siblings and they had turned out fine. God had been more than good, merciful and kind to them all. She just needed to have more faith in Him. He had always provided and made a way out of no way. He had seen her struggles and heartache for her siblings and heard her voice praying as a child, not knowing what to do and how to provide for her siblings.
She had tried to hang onto her faith; the faith which her mother had instilled within her, and pass it on to her siblings. Thankful for the foundation she was given and the faith she continued to hold onto, even as she faltered and failed God, now, she hadn't lost all hope. No, she had just been in too much pain and didn't know how to work through it. Pain had taken control of her and pride had blinded her, making her lose her way.
Today...today, after delivering Rachel and Hal's baby, her heart had changed. After, talking to Nigel,she had changed even more. She knew without a doubt, that things would get better. God was still there for her, as He had always been throughout her life, making a way out of no way. Certainly, if she had faith, He would take care of her and her baby, just as He had taken care of her and her siblings.
-Get married? She no longer knew if she was ready for that. Of course she was flattered that Wendell had inquired about her and wanted to deliver her baby. She had only pretended to be irritated to irritate Nigel. She laughed. That's what siblings do. This child should have siblings, she thought, smiling to herself.
Suddenly, Zenobia slapped her forehead. It struck her that the events of the day were no accident. Her firing Carolyn and Rachel coming there and going into labor was no accident. God intended for her to deliver Rachel's baby. Hal coming home before she left was no accident, et cetera, and so on, and so forth. And no, it wasn't her toughness which had gotten her through the day, at all. She could do nothing without God. Once again, God was making a way out of no way, while He taught them all a lesson in faith, humility, mercy, kindness, and unconditional love.
A feeling of peace and serenity filled her, as she felt humbled and blessed. Maybe she was ready for Wendell and he would no longer have to be afraid of her. She smiled, and closed her eyes, praying and thanking God for being with them and guiding them through the day.
"Please forgive me, dear, Lord. Oh, how I have grieved Your Holy Spirit. Forgive me for my disobedience and blindness. I have not treated others as I have wanted to be treated. I have shown lack of faith in You. Increase Thy poor servant's faith," she whispered. "Increase all of our faith, Lord, Hal, Rachel and the entire household. Bless their child as you have always blessed me, Father.
Have Thine own way, and use me. I have been stubborn, prideful, foolish, and selfish, following my own mind and falling into darkness. My strength had left me and my faith had waned. I have been lost because, I have put my faith and trust in man and the world, instead of putting all of my faith and trust in Thee. I have run ahead of You, Lord, seeking my own desires. I repent of my sins, Father. Please, forgive me. Help me to abide in Your Holy Spirit so that Your Will, will be done, Father, not mine! I know that I can do nothing without Your Hand. Keep me humble and seeking Thy face.
'Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me'. Set my eyes back upon the path of holiness and righteousness, following Christ Jesus. Help me not to stray from Thee. Teach me to be obedient and seek Your Kingdom first; loving You with all my heart and soul. Help me to listen for Your voice and walk in Your Light.
Father, I have claimed to have faith, but, I have not shown it through works. I produced ill-fruit, because my soul followed after ungodliness. My faith like my heart has been dead. Today, You helped me to show my faith through works. What I did was because of Your Goodness and Mercy! How Great Thou Art! You have shown me how You have created me to be. Revive me!
You have given me this child inside of me and shown me how precious and miraculous life is. I have taken my life and the lives of others for granted. Forgive me, Lord.
Father, I want to be a good mother to my child and be there for her for as long as I can. Oh, Father, please bless my child and bring her close to You. I know that she also has to go through trials and tribulations, but, touch her heart, Lord, as you have touched mine. Help me to guide her in Your Ways. Help me, Lord to live life abundantly, holy and righteously, that I may be an example of Christ to her, teaching her to follow The Truth, The Life and the Way, claiming abundant and everlasting life.
Thank you, Father. You have been working on my behalf all along, trying to open my eyes, while I resisted and fought against You. Yes, You have shown me Grace and Mercy in hope that I would show Your Grace and Mercy toward others. Great is Thy Faithfulness, O, Lord, unto me. You never give up on me, even when I have turned my back on You. Teach me patience, that I may endure and produce good fruit. Thank you, Father. I praise Your Holy name and asks these things, in the name of Your Precious Son. Amen"
Zenobia remembered all of the old hymns her mother used to sing, and as her prayers brought them back into her heart, she began to hum Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross.
No longer in pain or afraid of what the future might hold, Zenobia soon fell asleep, too tired to go on thinking.
James 2:1-13 King James Version (KJV)
1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
Published by Mishael T