Friday, July 15, 2016

God's infinity does not preclude either His immediacy or His intimacy.
                                                                                                                      -Robert L. Millet

Friday, July 8, 2016

Death ends a life, not a relationship. -Jack Lemmon

Friday, June 24, 2016

Chastening

I don't know why I don't write as much anymore.  I'm sure anyone reading this really enjoys me saying that over and over again.  I can't put my finger on the change in me (and that bothers me).  I used to write several times a week.  I like being able to at least understand what is happening in my mind even if I can't always steer my thoughts in the direction I like.  I wonder why writing hasn't been as much a part of my life when I compare my feelings post Eli versus post Miles.  When Miles died something sort of snapped inside me.  I can't totally put my finger on that either although I spend a lot of time thinking and praying about it.  Maybe it is beyond my ability to grasp.  But...I do have the urge to share things every once in awhile. Today I was reading in Hebrews.  If you haven't read through this book in awhile, I invite you to do it.  A lot of what Paul said to these people has been very helpful to me.  In chapter 12 verse 11 he says:

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

I looked up the definition of chastening.  I find that I frequently look up definitions as I study.  It's not that I don't know what the word means...or at least I think I have a general idea of what most words mean, but I usually gain added insights as I break it down.  One of the definitions of chastening is to prune of excess, pretense or falsity.

I hope (and mostly believe) that the non joyous chastening I have experienced and continue to experience and experience and experience is pruning me of excess...of anything that does not REALLY matter.  I want it to.

I also want it to help get rid of any pretense that is left in me.  I am not much for pretense.  I think the pretense part of my brain never really formed correctly and I am quite blunt and straight forward.  When me and Jason visited England I thought I might fit in better there.  Pretense seems almost absent from their culture.  People have told me this is refreshing, but I wonder.  It isn't always refreshing...(like if I say something you don't like).  I think we prefer the truth only if it agrees with us; if it convenient. Sometimes the truth doesn't.  I also wonder if my grief is helping me gain some pretense instead of  getting rid of it.  In general, I find that people SAY they want to know the truth, but that isn't always the case.  Sometimes it's just better to fake it and pretend like everything is okay.  Some people need you to.  Grief has taught me that.  How sad (I think it's sad, at least).  Maybe a bit of pretense is good... but to be honest, I just think it's lame.  I like it straight.  Even when it hurts.

So chastening is unpleasant, at best, but necessary.  I like the imagery of pruning...pruning the excess.  It reminds me of a clip I saw awhile back:

The Will of God

God, please prune me...and please help me to endure it without becoming bitter or despondent. Please help me to trust this process that seems long and agonizing and sometimes just plain mean.  I trust the process, but don't always trust myself in the process (if that makes sense).  I'm not sure I can hold up against the fire at times.





Friday, May 27, 2016

Dates

There are a lot of dates that I know can be difficult for me.  For the first while after Eli, I would struggle every Wednesday.  Wednesday was the day we delivered Eli.  I would watch the clock as the day would wear on and I could relive what had happened the day of his birth and death.  I also anticipated Mondays for awhile.  Monday was the day we buried him.  I would also relive this day.  I anticipated the 5th and still do.  Would it be a sweet day filled with peace and contentment or a day of pain and longing OR would it be just plain agonizing?  I just had to wait and see...like a surprise...but not an exciting on. After some months went by, the Monday's and Wednesday's began to fade and the 5th because more prominent.  As we drew closer to Eli's birthday, each 5th seemed like a countdown to his 1st year birthday, instead of counting up.  After his one year mark, I began the countdown for the 18 month mark.  During this time I was also pregnant with Miles, so I anticipated every Thursday which would signal a new week for my pregnancy.  Since Miles passed away, I have added some new dates to the anticipatory mix.  I hope you realize that I don't do this on purpose, but this has been the way of my grief.  I would love to pick  and choose which days mean what to me, but it hasn't worked out that way.  I found out that Miles' heart had stopped on a Monday at approximately 11:15am.  I delivered him on a Tuesday at 8:00pm. We buried him on a Wednesday.  My day changing week in my pregnancy was a Thursday.  Do you see the problem here?  Of course I still had the 5th to anticipate, and then there was the 26th, which was a new idea.  I can't tell you how overwhelmed I felt by all of this; like my whole life was either counting up to a date, or recovering from one, or actually living in it.  If I could shut my brain off I would do it, but that doesn't always work to my liking.  Luckily, I knew that some of these days would fade into the background.  I knew, from my experiences with Eli, that the Monday's and Tuesday's and Thursday's would fade.  I knew it would take time.  It felt like everyday was a problem for awhile.  One of the first questions Ethan asked after we told him about Miles' death was, "So, are we going to go to the cemetery on the 5th and 26th?"  He wasn't emotional, but rather seemed to be planning out his schedule.  I remember just being speechless as I started to process this idea (it had only been hours since the shocking news...).  It just felt like too much.  It still feels like too much...a bimonthly trip to the cemetery for our whole family. I mean, logistically, that felt excessive.  (I go a lot more than that, but the whole family?).  I just told Ethan I wasn't sure and we would figure it out.  I guess he just wanted to know what this meant for him. Oh, and don't forget the "due date."  The arbitrary date that no one really has their baby on.  That is currently hanging over my head.  It bothers me as I "wait" for what exactly? Miles was due January 26th...obviously, for that is the day he was born.  Unfortuneately, my mortal brain had mapped out more time with him and I thought his "due date" would be much later....like now.

Yesterday, being the 26th, was four months since delivering Miles.  It was a difficult day.  I thought I would be just about ready to deliver a baby; not stand over a his grave for this Memorial Day weekend.  People ask me what we are doing for Memorial Day.  Is that a nice way of asking if I am having a BBQ?  (I know my sarcasm is shining through...it's a great coping mechanism).  I'm not really upset when people ask this, but just so surprised to see where my life has gone over the last 2 years...wishing I were only thinking of a BBQ right now in some ways.  But on the other hand, I am grateful for where my life has taken me.  I no longer see anything the same way.  I don't take for granted the nights where I lay by Lincoln while he falls asleep.  I treasure the hugs from Ethan and look into his eyes more often knowing what a gift I have in him being here.  I see the way Katelyn grows and tries to navigate through this increasingly confusing and chaotic world.  I see the beauty of life more vividly as I have dealt with the sorrow of death.  I feel anchored to my Savior...completely secure in His care.  I have two truly angelic sons.   I know them separately and distinctly.  If you knew my sons you wouldn't feel bad for me.  If you knew the depth of my grief over them you would.

Monday, May 16, 2016

My experience with Miles has been completely different than Eli even though the end result looks roughly the same.  My pregnancy was very quiet, his short life was almost unknown.  He was gone before most people knew he came.  My grief has also been quieter...not inside myself but for everyone around me.  I am learning a lot. What day was Miles due?  He was due January 26th because that is the day he came. I didn't know that (obviously). I anticipated much, much more time with him. That is part of the reason I didn't feel rushed to run out and tell everyone I was pregnant.  I had very strange and conflicting emotions while I was pregnant, but I didn't worry about them too much.  Grief has taught me a few things over the last little bit and I knew that my emotions would be difficult when I got pregnant again. It was a lot worse than I thought, but I was patient with it.  I kept thinking, "I will feel different about this pregnancy.  It will take time, but I will feel different."  Time passed and passed and I didn't really feel that different.  But I didn't worry about it...I had TIME...I would get there.  This would become a joyful and exciting thing for me.  The ultrasound came and I thought, "This will be the moment I begin to feel different.  This is the moment where everything changed for me with Eli, so I just need to get past this part.  I need to go and realize that I am carrying a healthy baby who I can spend my life raising.  I will feel different."  Well, I didn't.  They told me I was carrying a healthy baby boy and there were absolutely no concerns with his development.  The doctors tried to speak peace to my troubled mind with their reassuring words, but I still didn't feel that different.  I was sorrowful.  I was troubled.  I was unsure why I didn't feel joyful or anticipatory about this baby.  I told Jason that I was as sorrowful as if this baby were going to die.  I was pregnant with a healthy baby boy but I had no desire to talk about it with anyone.  I should probably clarify that I did not think he was actually going to die even though I felt so dismal.  I just thought it was my grief and hormones talking.  I knew that Eli was my most recent experience, so it made sense that my mind was not processing this pregnancy correctly.  I knew this baby could die (that wasn't a far fetched idea anymore), but I didn't think he would; especially since we had already had that experience.  I heard plenty of other women celebrating their pregnancies and anticipated changes in their lives.  I was upset that I didn't feel that I could join in their happiness even though I also carried my own beautiful child.  I just kept thinking, "Wow...grief is tricky business and I can't understand why I feel this way, but I will get there.  Maybe it will be when I start feeling him move more.  Maybe it won't be until after his delivery and or when I take him home or even later.  Maybe this is going to be harder that I thought."  I was struggling quite a bit while I was carrying a healthy baby boy. And then he died. He has been in the ground for over 3 months and I was under the impression that he would still be inside my womb.  If that isn't a strange experience, I don't know what is...

Friday, May 6, 2016

Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!” -Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, May 2, 2016

Isaiah 57:10:Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope...