There are some TV shows that I could watch over and over and over. During this pandemic and while I’ve been forced to be more inactive due to my cancer treatment, I’ve watched several TV series from beginning to end multiple times. Call the Midwife, is one of those shows.
It’s hard to articulate all of the reasons why I love Call the Midwife. The fact that the focus of the show is mainly on midwives who work with and support women laboring to bring their babies into the world is a big reason. The fact that nuns are part of the storyline and their commitment to the “religious life” is front and center in a humanized and poignant way is definitely another. The fact that the storyline is true is certainly a big part of it. The fact that the show depicts the horrific affects of poverty, racism, homophobia, and other horrific abuses of the vulnerable, yet manages to also remind us of love and empathy and the resilience of the human spirit … well, that’s the clincher.
Vanessa Redgrave is the narrator and it is her fictional younger self who takes center stage in the first few seasons. Not only are the English accents and unfamiliar language choices deliciously different, the pace of life seems slower and more deliberate. The setting is the 1950s and electronics are rare, phones are mostly relegated to the medical clinics and phone booths, and handicrafts are plentiful.
While birth is center stage in the show, the main characters are midwives after all, the finality of death also looms large. Each character is touched by death and loss in significant ways, just like in real life, and each one shows different responses to the trauma. Many of the characters were affected by war, famine, work camps, and unimaginable horrors inflicted by humans by other humans. Mental illness and the response to those suffering from defects in a variety of ways are handled with delicacy and compassion.
In short, Call the Midwife shows us humanity in all its foibles and triumphs.
And the conclusion?
Love is paramount. Love echoes throughout our lives and into eternity. A legacy of love is prized and passed down through the generations. It is never too late for love to soothe us and smooth out the rough edges of individuals and relationships and families as a whole.
And the Greatest of These is Love. 1 Corinthians 13:13