38. Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
Worth is a master storyteller and draws you right into the drama of everyday life in the East End of London in the 1950's.
I must caution you though: It is not for the faint-at-heart. Her descriptions are pretty graphic, especially when she tells the story of "Mary" and prostitution on Cable Street. It moved me to compassion for those who get caught up with any kind of sex trade trafficking!
I did love reading the stories about the sisters at Nonnatus House, especially Sister Monica Joan. I laughed out loud on several occasions (really bad when you are in one room in a rental forest cabin with your family when they are trying to sleep).
For the most part, I think PBS has been really true to the most of the stories in the book with minor changes. One thing the PBS series has not yet touched on (and I hope they do) is Worth's spiritual transformation that takes place as a result of living with the Anglican nuns of Nonnatus. The most beautiful lines in the book read:
Now and then in life, love catches you unawares, illuminating the dark corners of your mind, and filling them with radiance. Once in a while you are faced with a beauty and a joy that takes your soul, all unprepared, by assault. As I cycled around that morning, I knew that I loved not only Sister Monica Joan, but all that she represented: her religion, her vocation, her monastic profession, the bells, the constant prayers within the convent, the quietness, and the selfless work in the service of God. Was it perhaps -- and I nearly fell off my bike with shock -- could it be the love of God? p.313Sister Monica Joan also said something profound a few pages later:
"Questions, questions -- you wear me out with your questions child. Find out for yourself -- we all have to in the end. No one can give you faith. It is a gift from God alone. Seek and ye shall find. Read the Gospels. There is no other way. Do not pester me with your everlasting questions. Go with God child: just go with God." . . .
Her constant phrase, "Go with God", had puzzled me a good deal. Suddenly it came clear. It was a revelation -- acceptance. It filled me with joy. Accept life, the world, Spirit, God, call it what you will, and all else will follow. I had been groping for years to understand, or at least to come to terms with the meaning of life. These three small words "Go with God", were for me the beginning of faith.
That evening, I started to read the Gospels. p.319