This is part of my series 100 Days: Waiting for a Rainbow.
I think about this blog almost every day, planning my next words. But recently I feel like I’ve run out of words, and energy! My brain is fuzzy and tired, and so is the rest of me!
Finally today, we have a delivery date put on the calendar. It feels like a big accomplishment, making it this far. To finally know that it isn’t “about a week” or “almost one week” – but to know 9 days. 9 days from now, God willing, we’ll have this precious little Squishy all snuggled up in our arms. Or maybe a precocious little Squishy screaming like a mad man because there are too many strangers and bright lights and loud voices. Who knows what kind of temperament this little guy will have!
It’s been a challenging week, honestly. Not only as we were waiting for this morning’s doctor’s appointment but also as life in general unfolds around us.
I’m swamped at work, trying to get ahead on things so my department continues to function this fall. Figuring out short term disability, and paid time off, and unpaid maternity leave, and payroll, and paying for benefits, and setting up a home work station – even with a great HR manager, it’s confusing bouncing between four different departments and insurance and doctors’ offices.
Then at home, I have baby bottles that don’t have a space yet, because the kitchen needs rearranged, and my bottle sterilizer is still sitting on the floor of my living room. And my cats want to play in the crib. The curtains aren’t done for the nursery because I’m wildly working away on another project which will miss it’s third deadline. And I still haven’t finished reading those baby sleep books because I fall asleep when I read more than 20 minutes.
Then at night, when I try to sleep, I have to run (erm… waddle) to the bathroom every three hours. And the only position that makes my back comfortable puts my leg to sleep. And then I get a charlie horse. This doesn’t include the nights I’m wide awake at 2 am because I’m still mulling over disability insurance and cash flow and which things I’ve forgotten to buy for the nursery. And oh, by the way…. am I even fit to be an actual mother with an actual newborn completely dependent on me?
And then, to put everything in perspective. I open the paper on Thursday morning to learn of a friend’s baby born sleeping at 40 weeks. A healthy, normal pregnancy, just a couple days past due. Gone before that sweet baby saw daylight. Later that day as I read her obituary, I see next to her an obituary for a 4 month old. A 4 month old preceded in death by two siblings.
And I wept. I wept because what if…. And because we live in a world where infants die. A world where people are beheaded and crucified and children starve and people riot in the streets. A world where mothers weep and fathers mourn and finding peace seems impossible. It’s all just too much.
And as I sat and cried, I prayed for one ray of hope. Something to tell me that all is not lost. A reminder that while we are overwhelmed and struck down and discouraged, this doesn’t have to be the end of every story.
Not much later, a friend came to visit. She shared with me that her niece, born at 34 weeks, was doing well. She was slowly weening off oxygen and bilirubin lights. She was gradually learning to suckle, and had recently been allowed out of the nursery to room-in with her mother. This is a little miracle, friends. A great miracle. Things can – and do – start off frightening and come out right. Tragedy is not the end of every story.
Then this morning, a friend posted this beautiful quote from C.S. Lewis’ novel The Magician’s Nephew.
“Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bend down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself. ‘My son, my son,’ said Aslan. ‘I know. Grief is great.'”
If you’re not familiar with Lewis’ classic children’s novel series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan is a great lion who is an allegorical representation of Jesus. To be reminded that as much as I feel like I’m carrying, The Great Lion of Judah carries much more than I ever could. He knows how troubled I am by the little things, like kitties in cribs, and the great things, like the death of a child – and His care for these great and small matters is much greater than my own. How deeply He feels our fears and sorrows, and how familiar with them He is.
Like us, Jesus lived in a world where children died and people were beheaded and crucified, and children starved and there were riots in the streets. He walked among these things. He suffered these things. And He was not defeated.
There is great peace in that. Great peace indeed.