What is it about the number 40?

It rained 40 days and 40 nights during the great flood that Noah averted by  building an ark.

For 40 years the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness before entering the promised land.

Christ went without food and water for 40 days during the fast that preceded his miraculous life and ministry.

The number 40 seems to represent a time of testing, a time of purification or a time of preparation. A pilgrimage.

This morning after 40 weeks of growing in Winter’s womb, baby Claire Jula was born. Claire = clarity. Jula = youthful.

I got to the hospital at 1:00 a.m. and stayed up with Winter and Adam all night long, during which I couldn’t stop reflecting on the symbol of the number 40.

The womb is a safe place of formation and development, and then suddenly after 40 weeks, there is the intense trauma of the birth. The birthing process is painful. It’s full of straining. It’s exhausting.

Then the miracle of life.

After Claire was born, rather than crying, she softly and tenderly groaned. The nurse called it “lamenting.”

Lamenting conjures a hopeful grieving, a prayerful mourning – that something better is to come.

Claire’s doing much better now. Her life is a miracle, one that starts 2009 off with an imaginative hopefulness that there is something better to come. That in the newness of her young life she will bring clarity to our old lives.

Happy birthday beautiful one and happy new year to all of you.