October Morning

It was a cool October morning when the doctor sat down with my infant son and me in the hospital waiting room. My mother was gravely ill in the Intensive Care Unit. He fumbled with his pen as he explained that she was “a very, very sick lady” and that she probably would not survive.

He left the room and I held the baby close. I could hear the sounds of people in the hallways, the sounds of the elevator doors opening and closing around the corner. How could people be going about life as usual when the entire world had obviously just shifted? My mother was dying.

My cell phone rang – my friend, Amy. I told her where I was and what was happening. Within two hours she was sitting next to me, which means she had packed up her baby daughter and started heading up the freeway immediately. She didn’t ask if she should come. She just came.

We didn’t talk much during the hours she was there. There wasn’t much to say. We just sat and held the babies, drank coffee, and fielded updates from the doctors and nurses. Yet her presence in that waiting room helped hold the sky in place when it seemed everything was about to come crashing down.

Philippians 1:3-11

“I thank my God for you…” (v. 3)

I Didn’t Know

stroller boys

 

 

You have me still

You have me

You have me

You have my heart completely.

            – Gungor

Jesse was sick last night.  It was the awful throwing-up-every-half-hour kind of sickness.  He cried because his stomach hurt so badly and he hated the vomiting.  Sweet child.  I kept thinking back to when he had RSV as a baby and how helpless I felt and how scared I was for him , but then also feeling like I am so dang lucky because these kids have been so healthy overall.  I am deeply thankful for that.  Please keep them safe, dear Lord…all of them, not just mine.

A power ranger sits on my desk.  It was probably Jesse who left it here the last time he played games on my office computer. I hardly pay any attention anymore to the toys left scattered around my church and my home, they have become the background of my life.

I remember visiting a friend with two young children before I had any of my own and I was startled by the assault to my senses while I was there – the house was rarely quiet, there was the faint smell of diapers always drifting through the air, and I was dismayed at the inconveniences: of having to pluck toys out of the bathtub before I could take a shower, of needing to wait for my friend to breastfeed her youngest before we could take off and go shopping and exploring, of how the needs of her children were so obviously greater than her need to visit with me and catch up on the things that we used to spend hours discussing.  Her world had shifted and I knew she was very content with those shifts.

I couldn’t imagine wanting any of those changes.  I loved my quiet house and life.  I loved my little challenges I gave myself – training for a marathon, writing some articles, working on my Doctor of Ministry degree.  I liked things in my time and I had a sense that children would blow up the world as I knew it.

Of course, they have.  Entirely.

I read an article recently that a mother carries cells of her children within her forever and also cells of the mother who gave birth to her.  There’s something so deeply comforting about knowing that physically my dear mother is knit into the fabric of me.  And just as I suspected, there is some very real part of me that is buried with her in the cold Minnesota ground.   No wonder we feel losses so completely.  A part of us is not figuratively dying when a loved one dies, rather a part of us has actually died.

It’s a vast thought…and sad enough to leave me huddled under a blanket in the corner forever.

Until I remember there is a living part of me, still.  And these beautiful sons are here – children I did not expect nor even have the wisdom to wish for very long yet God blessed me in spite of myself.  God saw fit to let me be their mom and to let me understand joy and true love in the best way possible.

I didn’t know, my dear boys, I didn’t know!  I would have been searching for you from the moment I began breathing if I had known how you would cast the world into the loveliest light of all.  I promise you, I live for what is still living – in me and in you.  I do not live for this grief although it covers much of me still.