It is a quiet Friday night. My husband is working. The kids are in bed. The diswasher is running. My floors are swept, pans washed and for the first time in what seems a millenium, I did NOT neurotically check my children's hair for invisibile nits that I know aren't there any longer but feel compelled to look anway.
A glass of pinot sits to my right and time streches before me as I sculpt it.
I could do lots of things, most too mundane to mention, yet I feel like sharing something with you. Something I never have.
I am a Christian. I believe in God. I don't believe I've ever said that here for it was neither here nor there, as I love and support each newcomer in this community not for their faith or their disbelief or their indifference to a higher power, but because we have all been bonded by something more, something that fears, doubts, wonders, and - most probably - is angry at that higher power in the wake of our loss.
So why do I make a point of it now? In my last post I mentioned that I stepped in for our pastor last week. Yeah - I preached! It isn't the first time. And, I don't think it's presumptious to say that it probably won't be the last.
Why me? That is a question I can't even begin to answer. You'd have to ask my preacher. But what I can tell you is what I speak on when I'm called to stand before the group of people I've come to know over the years.
Last year, I addressed the church with a talk entitled, "Searching Faith or Grieving Faith". It was a rambling oral essay on the plight of analyzing your faith after tragedy. It included this.
My definition of FAITH:
An entity, which once part of your being, never leaves you. Even in the midst of tragedy, confusion, devastation, and questions you will never have answers to, faith still lives inside you. You might not focus on it, or even acknowledge it, but you feed it just by living. Just by waking up every day and going to bed every night, you keep faith alive. It’s there, waiting, biding its time until you are ready to call on it again. When you do, your old friend is there in an instant, in whatever measure you need. It grows with you as you search for meaning and it strengthens you when you find your path. It embraces you as take your next step, and feeds you peace and joy with every further step you take.
That was last summer.
Early this summer, I was called on again.
I prepared a heartfelt talk about finding your purpose. About recognizing your purpose when it presents itself at your waiting feet. I spoke of direction and blind faith that even when you question the outcome of your next step, you know it is the direction you are meant to go. I spoke of endless energy, and love, and desire to do more, be more, accomplish more, because you love your work.
And then, I said that I had found mine. That Share Southern Vermont was mine. That being there for other broken hearted families so they didn't have to navigate tragedy on their own was my purpose.
It begged the question, did Emma have to die? Had I found the illusive reason for her death? For if she had survived that mutinous cord, I would still be one of the blissfully ignorant women get pregnant and nine months later they all have babies people. And SSV wouldn't exist. And my Comedian might not either. And that is too sad to even imagine.
It's not a question I'm willing to answer. Instead, I said this. "Our lives are sculpted by our experience. Mine has launched me into a supporting role. I embrace it as a way to mother my Emma, even by lifting up others."
Amazingly, even though each time they invite me I seem to talk about grief, loss, and tragedy; they had me back last week.
This time I shifted gears -- a little.
This post has already rambled on long enough, fueled, no doubt, from my glee to be posting at all and the glass of wine that still sits to my right, nearly gone.
My sermon can wait. But I want to share it here for I feel it pertains so much to us, those who hurt and in an attempt to try to quell our pain, give boldy. It is a message I know I need to hear again. Yet before I posted my musings from the altar, I needed you to know a little about my religious background.
It matters little what kind of Christian I am. Just that you know I am the believing kind, the faith filled kind, the kind that cursed the heavens and shunned God for years but eventually let him back in, a sliver of light at a time through a tentatively opened door. The kind with hope. The kind with a lot to give.
Has your loss defined a purpose in your life? A course of action you may not have taken if your child had lived? How do you reconcile the two?
CATCH UP FROM THE START!
TO READ MY STORY FROM THE BEGINNING CLICK HERE THEN READ THE 7 COUNTDOWN POSTS TO EMMA'S EIGHTH BIRTHDAY!