Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life's Boot Camp

by Sarah

Sometimes I catch myself in amazement that time continues to move forward.  Or I guess I should say, that I (we) continue to move forward in life...day by day, hour by hour. I really believed that time would stop back in January...that my life as I knew it was over.  Which in a way is accurate, but I'm learning that life in a new form, carries us onward.  I'm a different person today than I was yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.  With every passing day I am learning new things about myself, my resolve, my strength, my lack of it, my hopes, my dreams, my husband, my courage, my fears, my heart, my relationships, my marriage, my passions, my weaknesses.... It's almost as if I'm in some kind of boot camp of life...and boot camp is never easy.  It's designed to break you down so you can be built back up into a new, stronger version of yourself.

It would be very easy to disappear into this abyss of sorrow and grief and never reemerge. But that is not the life I want for myself.  I desire to ready my heart to love our future children and for them to have a mother whose spirit is peaceful, whose perspective is filled with hope, whose body is strong, whose eyes twinkle with joy and whose heart overflows with love, adventure and laughter.  I also know that working on becoming this woman requires every ounce of strength, determination, and surrender I can muster on most days. But I'm willing to give it everything I've got. Not to sound dramatic, but sometimes I feel like I am actually fighting for my future life when I choose to push toward hope for my future happiness by exercising, eating well, having quiet time, praying etc.  I want to live again.  I do not want to be where I am today six months from now...I have hope for myself.  For us. For our family....  But some days, I feel that hope is opposed and fear and grief overwhelm even my best efforts.

Last August Joe and I stood before a large crowd, shared our joyous news of our baby on the way and professed publicly that we were choosing to follow God's call on our lives.  Seven months later, here we are.  Certainly not how we envisioned our journey ahead to be, but it was where God called us to go....and we went. (Not without many tears and a lot of fear though!)  I cannot begin to wrap my mind around all that has happened in our world over the past seven months, but I think I can speak for both of us when I say that our journey of following God together has been one giant, crazy, joyful and heartbreaking adventure! Certainly not easy but absolutely beautiful. No question.

So we continue in our journey...life moving us forward...day by day and hour by hour.  We are trying to work on being thankful in our own ways for this difficult season of "life boot camp" and the ways God is breaking and strengthening us while all the while, he whispers and teaches us about his beautiful miracle of losing life in order to truly find it.

Thank you, Lord for the blessings you have rained down upon our lives and in our days.  I thank you for our beautiful son, Luke and all of the lessons his little life continues to teach and reveal to us. Thank you for making all things new....even these broken hearts of ours.  We believe you are God and that you love us and that you have good plans for our little family.  We believe you are using Luke's life and ours for your glory and good even when it does not feel that way.  Open our eyes, ears, hearts, spirits and minds to see the countless ways you show us you love us. Use our lives to tell your story, Lord.  Help us please. We love you.-

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Marching Forward

 by Sarah

This blog has been quiet for a few weeks now.  Not by design or intention and certainly not for lack of things to write about or share.  It's been quiet simply out of personal necessity.  What I'm learning about myself through this experience of grief and healing is that when emotions and experiences are roaring their loudest inside my heart and spirit, I'm finding myself rendered speechless on the outside.  There is so much to process that at times it's just too much and I end up with cheeks wet with tears and no words...I feel crushed and sometimes just numb.  I'm working on that though....working on being able to experience my life in a healthy way that allows me to feel alive and able to creatively express myself. That is the goal...but I'm not there yet.

Since returning to work almost a month ago, I have been living in survival mode.  Not to be dramatic, but surviving is really all I've felt capable of doing this past month.  Get up, get ready, get to work on time, show up for appointments and meetings, do the work that needs to be done, smile at people, try and be kind, try and hold myself together, exercise after work, fix dinner, try and do what needs to be done to keep the household running, collapse into bed and escape into a movie with Joe, pray, sleep, repeat.  It has taken all I have to do those simple things- to "live" my life every day. 

In recent months, my life feels like it has been in black and white- not color.  I miss the color that laughter, joy, happiness, beauty and hope add to your days.  When the color of life and living is gone, everything fades to black and white with a smidge of gray here and there....and it is bleak.   Often times I do not have anything to offer anyone by way of email responses, thank you note writing or phone call returns... At times it feels exhausting just to smile at people let alone be "present" with them....my heart tank is just empty.  It sounds selfish and sad to write that out, but it is my truth right now in this season.

I've been living under the radar lately, not being overly social, not really wanting to do much other than hang out at home with my wonderful husband.  It's almost as if due to the protection we've been afforded by our friends and family, we've been able to live in hibernation during these long, impossible winter months.  Hibernation with the hope of surviving this season well and all the while waiting for spring to arrive.  I'm not simply talking about the official spring season arriving, although that will be fantastic, but more of a personal "spring" season. ...ahh, lovely spring with its beautiful colors, fresh air, rebirth and new hope....when the breezes of optimism cannot help but transform the presence and countenance of most living things. I cannot wait.

Even though my own "winter" has no official end on the calendar, I'm trusting that my spring's arrival will be known to me simply by the beauty that begins breaking through the gray of my mind, heart and world....when the colors of happiness gradually return...when I catch myself feeling happy and don't feel guilty.  When there are days with more laughter than tears.  When I can feel us emerging from the shadows out into the sunshine.  

Although the calendar says it's March, the official beginning of the spring season, my personal spring has not yet arrived.  Sometimes that is discouraging and weighs heavily upon my heart, but somewhere deep inside my heart I know it's coming and will eventually arrive.  There will be days where my heart sings again, where I can see the colors of happiness all around and where I feel life and joy returning to the air I'm breathing and the thoughts I'm thinking.  I'm working on living my best in the moments of these difficult days, but I'm absolutely and breathlessly watching and waiting for what God promises will surely be a beautiful spring. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Two Months

Sweetest Luke,
We met you two months ago today.  It feels impossible that over eight Mondays have come and gone since your birthday.  I count hours.  I count days.  I count weeks and now I am heartbroken in my counting of months since we got to meet and then had to part.  Each day brings reminders of things I long to be doing with you.  Simple things.  Little things. Just everyday life things that so many people take for granted.  I would love to be going to the grocery store together, helping you get dressed each day, sitting at stoplights and singing to you in the backseat, dancing with you in my arms in the living room, watching the Olympics with you and your dad, listening to the first birds of spring chirping outside the window, going for walks together, fixing dinner for your dad together in the kitchen, spending quiet moments together in the middle of the night...you and me.  So many little things I long to be doing with you but can't. 

I never tire of looking at photos of you.  You truly were such a beautiful miracle and I cherish getting to see you in these beautiful photos all the time. I would give anything in the world to hold you again and be able to whisper how much I love you into your ear.  But since I can't do that, I just talk to your photos and tell you these things.  Sometimes I also talk to the sky in hopes that somehow you are able to know and understand what I'm saying and can feel my love all the way up there in heaven. 

Even though our time together was brief, like I said, I have spent hours looking at you and studying your beautiful face and body in our pictures.  I love that I have become familiar with your sweet face and different expressions.  I especially love catching glimpses of you in your daddy's face.  Every once in awhile his face will be set in such a way that I am able to recognize you in him- a krinkle of his nose, his profile,  a glace of his cheek at a certain angle...and I am suddenly and miraculously able to see you again! When this happens, I cannot help but smile in spite of my sadness.  I think these glimpses of you are a gift that God gives me to help me through these dark days.  Luke, when I think of you and how I get to be your mama forever, my heart swells with so much love and joy that I almost cannot hold in my tears. (Actually, most times I don't end up holding them in...)

I miss you so much Luke.  I'm back at work now and it was so hard to leave my days spent entirely with your memory behind.  I brought many photos of you with me back to work so you are never far from my eyes or my thoughts even when I'm working.  You remain front and center in my heart and you are thought about thousands of times each day and missed much more than I am able to express to you.  I wish you were here.  I wish our home was full of your life, your cries and your things.  There is a Luke-shaped hole in our lives and there always will be.  We met you two months ago today, and our lifetime of loving you is only beginning.  We love you always.

Happy two month birthday my beloved angel.  Missing you so much it hurts.

Your mom