This week we remembered the anniversaries of Maggie and Abby's births and deaths. As I journeyed through the three days, a brutal triduum, I began to see how deepest grief can take the shape of the paschal mystery. Dying and rising. As the first year after loss ends, I find myself turning toward new directions. I will not be writing only honest grief in this space; there are new callings. So as Lent begins, this feels a fitting end to what the last year has been. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. . . . Birth. It is the beginning of the scar, the longest on my body. The scalpel that sliced through stomach, layers of skin and muscle, to pull two tiny babies into the world. They are too small to cry. But I do, quiet tears streaming down my face. My arms cannot wipe them away, strapped down and stretched out to both sides. This surgery is cruciform; nurses do not tell you that in pre-op. Then again, how could they possibly prepare you? Did anyone … [Read more...] about was it a holy week?
It's been a hard month, hasn't it? In our small corner, it was the shock of twins. The exhaustion of early pregnancy. The darkness of morning sickness. And the upheaving of expectations. But in the wider world, it was Paris and Beirut and Syria and so many million more places where the earth is broken and blood is flowing and bullets are flying and despair is overwhelming. How do we live in a world like this? How do we go on, let alone hope? Every night before dinner our family takes turns around the table, asking each other what we want to thank God for. Sometimes I wonder if this facile practice is worth the effort. It's a harmless affirmation, I know. A chance to smile at the randomness of a preschooler's prayers or a toddler's grins. But my God. If we think about what it truly means to give thanks, it is a daunting and dangerous practice indeed. Because thanksgiving goes beyond any easy offering of what makes us happy in the moment. Thanksgiving looks straight … [Read more...] about when you do not want to give thanks
Floored. We are so floored by the response to our news about the twins. Friends, family, strangers from across the globe - we're amazed and humbled to think that you're praying for us and our babies. (I still feel incredulous every time I make that word plural.) I can't thank you enough for your kind word and encouraging thoughts. I know we will need them even more in the months to come, and I'm holding each one of your emails, comments, stories, and promises of prayer close to my heart. Deep and humble thanks to every one of you. I'm not sure how to follow up a post that goes like HERE WERE ALL THE PLANS WE HAD FOR OUR LIVES AND NOW THEY ARE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN DEAR GOD WHAT WERE YOU THINKING so I figured I'd start with the questions everyone's been asking. (Got another you're dying to ask? Pose a question in comments and I'll do my best to answer. With the caveat that I'm no medical expert; just a bewildered mom who talked to doctors. Believe me, I'm as curious about this whole … [Read more...] about THANK YOU! (and a few FAQs…)
I carried one book with me across the country last week, Phyllis Tickle's The Shaping of a Life: A Spiritual Landscape. I stuffed it in the airplane carry-on with the children's coloring books. I read it by cell phone light while the toddler snored next to me. I curled up with it on the hotel bed while the city hummed and honked through another DC afternoon. I read it in Michigan where I grew up and Indiana where I went to school. I read it between reunions with family and friends. And one single chapter haunted me. Phyllis writes about the Scripture story that defined her life, faith, and identity. The one story that she discovered as a young girl, the story that became her variation on a theme, weaving its way through decades of life and work and prayer. What was my story? I turned this question over and over in my head, wondering whether there was a single Scripture story that gave patterns to my life. I envied the unity and clarity of Phyllis' vision of the world, … [Read more...] about what’s your story? the Scripture that defines us