Thursday, October 22, 2009
Thanks to all of you for your insightful responses to my last post. I am certainly feeling more at peace about my decision and blessed that another member of our board can attend. It is time to give up certain contols and let the crew man the ship a bit. Not an easy task for a person like me, but necessary when, as I just told a friend, "the thing you built is growing faster than you ever imagined."
An issue for a self-proclaimed control freak like me.
I have posts that are extremely important to me brewing, about the lighting cermony, about my big-daddy benefactor of sorts showing up, about love and life and seeing a side of my little girl I never thought I would.
I have catching up to do within your lives. I have babies to welcome. Anniversaries to belatedly acknowledge, hoping the mommy and daddy know I was thinking of them on their day. And sad moments to support.
Even as the chicken sautees, the pumpkins sit half-carved, the UPS man approaches the door, the Bowling for Babies flyer is 3/4 done, the eggs boil, the dough for our cinnamon buns rises, and my 332 pictures beg to be uploaded and ordered from Sn.ap.fi.sh my mind flies to all of you and the words spin through my head.
I have come to the unsatisfactory, yet realistic conclusion that I am at a blogging crossroads. I blog for me, and for you, but primarily to keep my senses sharp, my words in tune, and my emotions processing about the loss of our little girl. In just over a year I have nearly hit 300 posts. Writing daily was cathartic. It was my outlet. It allowed me to cultivate the relationships I now find myself missing daily.
Even so, at this time one or two posts a week is all I will be able to create until the new year. Until all the fundraisers are done, numbers added, and Share Southern Vermont's first tax return filed. I have to be ok with this down shift. I have to use it as a learning experience in the world of blogging. I imagine they all have their ebbs and flows. Just know that the ebb frustrates me as much as my lack of commenting might irk you.
Catch you on the fly...
Friday, October 16, 2009
They don't intersect well.
More often than not I find myself faced with choices that lay on either side of the lifeline. Choices that leave me feeling like lose:lose is a guilt ridden understatement. For, regardless of which side of the line I land, someone will be negated, or left out, or added in when they didn't need to be, or over-exposed to the concept of death, or left behind while I go attend to that very thing.
This has been my delicate dance since I started Share Southern Vermont. I dove into the mission with a fire burning in my broken heart, finally feeling like I found a way to parent Emma while unconsciously burdening myself with the added dillema of choosing to spend my time with my living children or taking action in memory of my spirit one.
I repeat: without boundaries they don't intersect well.
And perhaps that is my real issue. Maybe balance isn't my holy grail of time management. Instead, I might need clearly defined, boldly outlined peremiters to keep me where I am supposed to be, when I am meant to be there.
Because babies will die everyday. No amount of wishful, child-like, kum-buy-ah thinking will keep it from happening.
My living children grow and learn everyday too.
My husband and I seem to see less and less of each other with each passing moon.
There is a memorial service for twins who perished inutero as a result of a car crash next Sunday at 3pm.
At the exact same time there is a couples class at our church, the first in a series of three, intended to strenthen how we, as husband and wife, listen to and communicate with each other. And, in turn, how we parent the little ones who look to us as models of social appropriateness.
I was temporarily stumped. I always make an effort to go to the services for infants in Southern Vermont. It shows the parents that perfect strangers do care because they too have lived those horrific moments. It gives them someone to cry out to through the computer. It often gives them the intense courage to walk into a support group meeting sooner, rather than later.
But my family unit is important. How we build our routines and work as a team is vital to our future.
It appears I am going to miss this memorial. It makes me sad. I hope and pray this family knows how much we have to offer them. But on that day, at that time, I will be doing something so my husband and I have more to offer our family.
I wonder, did I pass my first test?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Currently, I am re-printing our International Wave of Light programs because an idea came to me, last minute - as most of my good ones do.
After making a call, it came to me. My mind rewinding to the last day of my Share training.
Our closing ceremony was brief, filled with music, tears, complicated I-just-met-you-but-can't-stand-to-go goodbyes, and - a poem. This poem. It is perfect.
I type it here for each of you. If you are lighting candles tomorrow night, perhaps you might read it along with us. The idea of our collective actions happening simultaenously across the globe lights the flame within me.
For each and every one of you missing your sweet angel babies...
We remember them
In the blowing of the wind and the chill of winter –
We remember them
In the grayness of an early morning rain and in the promise of the rainbow that follows,
We remember them
In the opening of bud and in the rebirth of spring,
We remember them
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer,
We remember them
In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
We remember them
In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
We remember them
When we are weary and in need of strength,
We remember them
When we are lost and sick at heart,
We remember them
When we have joys we yearn to share,
We remember them
So long as we live they too shall live, for they are a part of us as,
We remember them
Friday, October 9, 2009
Last Friday night I wrote of my religion as a prelude to this post. One most certainly begets the other, so if you missed it -- it might be worth a click over.
I read from the book of Matthew, Chapter 6: Verse 25 - 34, Entitled: Do Not Worry
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed liek one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
And then, I began.
LAST JUNE I STOOD HERE AND SPOKE OF PURPOSE, OF FINDING YOUR ROAD AND WALKING IT WITHOUT FEAR OF ROADBLOCKS OR DETOURS.
IN JUNE I STOOD BEFORE YOU ASKING, WHERE IS YOUR GOD?
WITHIN YOU OR OUTSIDE OF YOU?
CAUSING YOU TO FEEL LED OR WAITING FOR YOU TO ANSWER?
TODAY, A MERE THREE MONTHS LATER, I STAND BEFORE YOU AGAIN TO SPEAK OF BALANCE.
THE WORD ITSELF IS ILLUSIVE. THE CONCEPT CONSIDERED BUNK BY MANY, BUT STILL – WE SEARCH FOR IT, TRY TO CREATE IT IN OUR LIVES.
BALANCE BETWEEN WORK AND HOME
BALANCE THE ATTENTION WE GIVE OUR CHILDREN
BALANCE THE MONEY THAT COMES IN WITH THE MONEY THAT GOES OUT
BALANCE OUR MORALS AND VALUES WITH THE DEMANDS OF THIS INCREASINGLY CORRUPT WORLD
ALL THESE STRUGGLES ARE VALID, STRESSORS THAT EXIST IN OUR DAILY LIVES, AND YET – TODAY, I ASK THE BIGGER QUESTION:
WHERE IS YOUR BALANCE? THE BALANCE BETWEEN YOU AND THE WORLD?
WE ENTER THE WORLD COMPLETELY DEPENDANT, AND – IF AGE IS WHAT RETURNS US TO OUR MAKER – WE LEAVE IT THE SAME WAY.
AS INFANTS WE HAVE NO RESPONSIBILITY TO OTHERS. WE EXIST BECAUSE THEY DO, FEEDING US, BATHING US, LOVING US, TEACHING US.
OUR EXISTANCE FOR THE EARLY FORMATIVE YEARS OF OUR LIFES IS ENTIRELY SELF-SERVING.
AFTER THE BIRTH OF A FIRST CHILD, THE PARENTS CAN BE HEARD TO JOKINGLY LAMENT, “IT’S NOT ABOUT US ANYMORE. EVERYONE WHO COMES, CALLS, OR VISITS IS HERE ABOUT THE BABY!”
A FEW YEARS LATER, WE OFTEN ROLE OUR EYES AT OUR 3 YEAR OLD SAYING, “ALL THEY THINK ABOUT IS THEMSELVES –THEY LIVE IN A ME – ME – ME KIND OF WORLD!”
AND THEY DO. AND THEY SHOULD.
BUT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE, AS PRE-TEENS PERHAPS, OR YOUNG ADULTS – THE LINES GET BLURRED.
WE SHIFT FROM A WORLD REVOLVING EXCLUSIVELY AROUND ‘US’ TO A WORLD WHERE THE REQUIREMENT IS TO SERVE ‘THEM’
DO NOT THINK OF SELF – BUT THINK OF OTHERS
DO NOT ACT IN YOUR OWN BEST INTEREST, BUT FOR THE NEEDS OF OTHERS AROUND YOU
2 Peter 1:5-7 ESV / 3 helpful votes
"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love."
INDEED, THIS IS A NOBLE DIRECTION. AND, THERE ARE SOME BORN INTO THIS WORLD AS GIVERS.
I THINK OF A YOUNG GIRL IN OUR PRESCHOOL. SMALL AND QUIET, SWEET TO A FAULT, AND ALWAYS FOUND DIRECTLY NEXT TO, OR HELPING, OR DOING SOME THING FOR THE EQUALLY SWEET CHILD WITH DOWNS SYNDROME. I LOOK AT HER AND THINK, ‘SHE IS GOING INTO A HELPING FIELD SOMEDAY!”
FOR OTHERS, THE TRANSITION IS LESS THAN SMOOTH. GIVING IS A LEARNED SKILL, THINKING OF OTHERS FIRST – OFFERING THE LAST ROLL TO THE THREE PEOPLE AT THE TABLE BEFORE TAKING IT FOR YOURSELF DOES NOT COME NATURALLY, BUT HAS TO BE MODELED, PRACTICED, AND THEN - PERHAPS - HABITUAL.
STILL, THE EVOLUTION OF SELF-CENTERED LIVING TO SELFLESS LIVING IS ONE THAT ALL FAMILIES SEEM TO TEACH, REGARDLESS OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
I AM VERY MUCH LIKE THAT YOUNG ‘HELPER’ GIRL. IN FACT, I WOULD VENTURE A VERY ACCURATE GUESS THAT I WAS THAT GIRL IN PRESCHOOL, AS A YOUNG CHILD, AS A PRE-TEEN, AND I KNOW I AM AS A YOUNG ADULT.
AT TIMES, MY ‘DO FOR OTHERS WITHOUT THINKING OF THE COST TO SELF’ ACTIONS GOT ME IN TROUBLE.
SOMETIMES I WOULD GET SICK, MY BODY’S WAY OF TELLING ME I HAD EXERTED TOO MUCH, AND IF I WASN’T GOING TO TAKE TIME FOR SELF, THEN IT WOULD FORCE ME TO.
SOMETIMES, I WOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR OTHER’S MISTAKES. LIKE THE TIME I VOUCHED FOR A VIRTUAL STRANGER AS HE PURCHASED A CELL PHONE AND FOUND THAT YEARS LATER IT NEARLY AFFECTED OUR ABILITY TO PURCHASE OUR FIRST HOME.
BUT MOSTLY, I FOUND MOTIVATION AND PRIDE AND REWARD IN PUTTING OTHERS FIRST.
THEY SAY THAT OPPOSITES ATTRACT, AND THAT OVERUSED STEROTYPE IS HAUNTINGLY TRUE IN MY MARRIAGE. HOWEVER, IN ONE VERY FUNDAMENTAL WAY WE ARE IDENTICAL.
I MARRIED A GIVER. LAST YEAR HE GAVE ME A GIFT.
‘TAKE THE YEAR’ HE SAID WHEN THE CONTRACT I THOUGHT A SURE THING FELL THROUGH, ‘I’LL WORK OVERTIME TO COVER THE FINANCES. YOU DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.”
FOR ONE SATURDAY MORNING I HAD TEARFULLY CONFESSED HOW I HAD A WILD IDEA…A DESIRE – NO AN ABSOLUTE NEED – TO WRITE A BOOK. HOW THE TIME SEEMED TO BE AT HAND TO FOCUS ON EMMA, HER MEMORY AND WHAT HER LEGACY HERE, IN THIS WORLD, WOULD BECOME.
HE GRANTED MY WISH.
HE REMOVED MY STRESSORS, TAKING THEM ONTO HIS OWN SHOULDERS.
HE ALLOWED ALL MY FANATICAL IDEAS TO SPIN AROUND OUR HOUSE, NODDING AND SMILING AS YET ANOTHER ‘BIG NOTION’ HIT ME – PROPELLING MY ALREADY RACING PACE.
HE WORRIED FOR ME, AS I TOOK ON YET ANOTHER PROJECT, OR WRITING ASSIGNMENT, OR STARTED ANOTHER BLOG.
OUR RELATIONSHIP WAS VERY ONE SIDED. THE WEIGHTS THROWN VASTLY OFF BALANCE. HE GAVE – I SEARCHED.
AND I, VERY MUCH LIKE THAT THREE YEAR OLD, FOCUSED ON MYSELF: MY IDEAS, MY NON-PROFIT, MY DESIRES, MY NEED TO BE EMMA’S MOTHER IF ONLY BY GIVING TO OTHERS.
HOWEVER, FOR ALL MY EGOCENTRIC WAYS, GOD FOUND ME IN A STRONGER, MORE CONNECTED WAY THAN EVER BEFORE.
I MEDITATED DAILY. HEARING MY WAY, AFFIRMING MY PATH. KNOWING EACH NEW STEP WAS RIGHT EVER IF I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND WHERE I WAS HEADED.
I SAW HIM THROUGH DAILY DOINGS, ACKNOWLEDGING HIS PRESENACE WITH A NOD AND A GRATEFUL SMILE.
I FELT HIM WORK WITHIN ME AS I HAD A GENUINE DESIRE TO EXERCISE MORE AND EAT HEALTHER FOODS, WITH THE PLEASANT RESULT THAT I FELT COMFORTABLE WITHIN MY BODY AGAIN.
I WALKED TALLER.
I FELT COMFORTABLE IN MY OWN SKIN.
I LIVED MY LIFE – TRULY ENJOYING EVERY MINUTE, EVEN THE ONES THAT COULD BE PERCIEVED AS UNFORTUNATE OR BAD, KNOWING THAT IF I LOOKED HARD ENOUGH, OR WAITED A FEW EXTRA MINUTES THE GOODNESS WITHIN THE NEGATIVITY WOULD PRESENT ITSELF.
TIME WAS FLUID, AND EASY, AS IF THERE WOULD ALWAYS BE MORE THAN ENOUGH TIME TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING I WANTED.
IT WAS A MAGICAL YEAR.
TOGETHER – WE WERE POWERFUL – GOD AND I.
THE RESULTS WERE OBVIOUS. FRIEND WERE CONSTANTLY COMMENTING ON HOW 'CALM' I SEEMED. MY KIDS SETTLED, OUR DAILY LIFE FLOWING WITH AN EASE IT NEVER HAD BEFORE, AND FIRST TIME EVENTS - LIKE OUR MEMORY WALK DREW OVER 80 PEOPLE.
LIFE WAS GOOD. LIFE WAS EASY. ANYTHING WAS POSSIBLE.
THAT YEAR IS OVER, AND WITH IT - THE MAGIC HAS FLOWN.
I HAVE REENTERED THE WORLD.
I AM BACK TO WORK.
THE WORLDY STRESSORS HAVE RETURNED.
I SEEM NOT TO FIND TIME FOR DAILY PRAYER AND MEDITATION ANY MORE, MY MIND CLUTTERED WITH TOO MANY RESPONSIBILITES, TOO MANY ‘NEED TO DO’S’.
– AND ALTHOUGH I WOULD NOT CALL OUR RELATIONSHIP BALANCED EXACTLY – I KNOW THAT I HAVE TAKEN SOME OF THE WEIGHT OFF MY HUSBAND’S SHOULDERS.
ALL THIS WAS NECESSARY, BUT AT A COST.
I HAVE LOST THAT SENSE OF SELF. I HAVE SWUNG BACK TO THE FAR RIGHT, AND AS MUCH AS I KNOW THAT GOD IS STILL BESIDE ME, CHEERING ME ON, I NO LONGER FEEL HIM WORKING WITHIN ME, EVERY DAY, EVERY MINUTE.
LAST YEAR - I LIVED AS MATTHEW DIRECTED: NOT WORRYING ABOUT THE LOGISTICS OF MY LIFE, WHERE THE FOOD WAS COMING FROM, THE CLOTHES, THE TIME, THE NEED…JEREMIAH TOOK THAT ON.
6:34 – "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
MY CHALLENGE NOW, IS TO REMEMBER THAT. TO LIVE MATTHEW’S WORDS IN SPITE OF:
THE DINNER THAT ISN’T QUITE ON THE TABLE,
THE CLOTHES THAT HAVE YET TO MAKE IT TO THE DRYER,
THE PRESS RELEASES THAT JUST MISSED THE DEADLINE FOR NEXT WEEK’S PAPER,
THE LACK OF ATTENDACE AT AN EVENT BECAUSE I DIDN’T HAVE THE TIME TO DEVOTE TO MEDIA COVERGE,
THE TIME I KNOW I SHOULD SET ASIDE FOR MEDITATION AND PRAYER,
THE TIME I KNOW I NEED TO DEVOTE TO MY HUSBAND FOR ALL HIS SUPPORT, HIS LOVE, AND HIS WILLINGESS TO TAKE ON MORE THAN HIS SHARE.
AND SO, I'LL SAY THIS OUT LOUD:
I ACCEPT THIS CHALLENGE, KNOWING FULL WELL I WILL HAVE TO RETURN TO THIS SCRIPTURE OFTEN, DAILY PERHAPS – FOR I WILL FAIL.
TODAY – I CHALLENGE YOU TO THE SAME.
REMEMBER YOURSELF AT THE CENTER OF YOUR LIFE, WITH THE SAME VIGOR YOU CULTIVATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR GOD.
AND THEN, REACH OUT, GIVE, SERVE, PROVIDE, FOR YOU WILL HAVE GREAT THINGS TO GIVE.
FOR ACTIONS BASED ON REQUIREMENT ARE HOLLOW, LEADING TO REGRETTABLE RESULTS.
BUT, JUST AS WATER BECAME WINE AND A MODDUCUM OF FISH AND BREAD BECAME ENOUGH FOR THE MASSES -
ACTIONS BASED ON A KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR SELF AND YOUR GOD WORKING WITHIN YOU – YIELD BOUNTY YOU CAN NEVER IMAGINE…
I PRAY I FIND THE BALANCE. I PRAY THE MAGIC RETURNS.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
And, after a year when the topic of in-town summer conversations lamented on various responses to, "And how was your garden this year?" we consider ourselves wildly abundant to have this:
I mean, look at the size of that blue hubbard squash
The chickens are all grown up. They say "don't count your chickens", but I do. There are 23 and even though only about half are currently laying we fill an egg carton a day.
A pantry full of canned vegetable will sustain us for the winter.
The outdooor furnace we (Um: I mean he) fills morning and night sits next about 22 cord of wood.
And so, it seems that if the world were to stop turning for a few moons we would be allright. For we have more than enough, no - much more than enough to be happy and healthy.
What are you grateful for that others might not have? What are you showing and telling?
Friday, October 2, 2009
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?
Thursday, October 1, 2009
They are a perfect token for yourself, your families and friends who want to remember and keep your babies close without always having to put it into words. They are moderately priced at $3 each or 4 / $10. Shipping is minimal. Please pass the word and the link.