This is how I sorted through my new world the day I found out that I wouldn't meet my third baby. I felt like I had tried so hard ( I know that 5 months doesn't seem all that long to the veteran fighters of infertility, but from my experience it was a shockingly long time) and I was devastated. I had a treasure that I could not hold, that I was helpless to protect. Andrew was in Brazil for the week and my mom was keeping the kids for a few days. The line on the test was getting fainter and blood test looked bad and I wept and I sewed... I felt so raw and I needed to make something that reflected my heart. I had that littlest secret bud of promise, but now I felt surrounded by darkness on every side. I felt like I was spiraling down in a big dark fog.
There is a time to grieve. I was afraid that if I let go and cried as much as I needed to that I would never stop... But there are times to grieve and times to heal. They hold hands and sometimes you can't tell whose fingers are whose. Really making a space to grieve was healing for me. I cried until the tears were gone, sewed some of the patchwork above, and then cried some more. Expressing my grief made room for the light to come in.
God has comforted me through numerous things as I have walked through this valley. As I left my basement after sewing and crying most of the day I saw a flicker in the middle of the room. There was a dragonfly flying around the middle of my basement. It struck me as unusual... and it felt encouraging. I had not been down there alone like I thought, this little messenger had been keeping me company. I remembered reading a while ago that dragonflies were symbolic of something so I went and did a quick search. While different cultures associate them with different things, a lot of the various meanings have to do with living life to the fullest because a dragonfly has such a short life. The dragonfly was a wonderful reminder that though this child has had such a short life from my perspective, his/her life has worth and purpose and should be celebrated nonetheless. Another symbol I held on to was the unusually enormous snail that lived on our backdoor just above the door handle that weekend. Every time we came inside we saw it. A snail symbolizes perseverance...I needed to be told to persevere. It is easy to be cynical and discredit little messengers from God, but I am so thankful for those tangible reminders.
The patchwork piece above was inspired by realizing that, while I felt lost in my gray, I was gifted with the presence, support, prayers, and encouragement of my community... a bit of a perspective shift. I had several friends tell me they were thinking of us while they listened to the song "Timshel" by Mumford and Sons... the refrain "You are not alone in this, You are not alone in this- as brothers we will stand and hold your hand" felt so so true. We felt the embrace of our community. It is an amazing thing to feel surrounded and upheld by people who love you. Another line from the song --"Death is at your doorstep, and it will steal your innocence, but it will not steal your substance." Life is not quite as simple now... some innocence is gone. But something must be said for going all the way down and feeling that your substance is something more sure than gravity. My prayer that night was- "God, I know you are good. I don't like this. I am miserable, but I know you are good and for that I am thankful."
My favorite C.S. Lewis quote seems to fit here. It is rather long, but there have been a number of times that it has felt like my one hand hold. In A Grief Observed he writes,
"The terrible thing is that a perfectly good God is in this matter hardly less formidable than a Cosmic Sadist. The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed-- might grow tired of his vile sport--might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety. But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren't."
It has taken me almost ten months to be ready to write about this... I thought I could cover everything I have to say about the subject in one long post... but as I worked through how to do it I realized that in reality I have far too much to say... You will be hearing more on this topic later.