Thursday, October 27, 2011

Praise from the Cave

What I am experiencing right now has resounded down the halls of time, broken hearts, torn apart families and inspired gut-wrenching art.  And although I am not pursued by a half-mad king spreading lies and aspiring to murder me, I lie in anguish on my bed as young David did thousands of years ago, feeling tormented, alone, and afraid.

I thought things would get easier.  They've gotten harder.  It's been two months since we lost the baby (technically, three), and I'm thinking more about her, not less.  I've said before that we'll never know if it was a boy or girl, but in my mind, she's Olivia.  And I am still aching because I will never hold her until I am swept up into heaven, or until I perish.

A few weeks ago, an old friend sent me a message sharing some very personal thoughts.  It seemed that she'd been following my baby news and admitted she had mixed feelings about it.  And she wanted to apologize.  You see, this lovely young woman, who is a medical miracle on her own, is unable to bear children.  Her heart is for kids, so you can imagine the almost physical pain she must endure each time a friend announces a pregnancy, or a baby shower invitation comes in the mail.  I hadn't really even considered the kind of heartache that she undergoes on a regular basis until just recently.

A very close friend of mine joyously "went public".  Although I have friends who had been pregnant before I lost the baby, this was the first announcement of a new pregnancy that I have heard.  I am truly happy for her.  I know it has been her heart's desire, and that this baby will bring a opportunity for healing, wholeness and peace to her, her husband, and her friends and family - including me.  Eventually.  But when I sat down last night, alone with my thoughts, I examined my feelings, and I wept.  Then I hated myself for it.  Why should even a small part of me not be delighted for this dear friend, who is receiving a blessing in her life?  Why should I close myself up when I hear news about babies - hers or anyone else's?  Why should she fret about sharing exciting details with me?

I couldn't answer those questions right away.  But when I attended my women's leadership small group the next day, I asked for prayer.  I confessed to these women I love so dearly that I was struggling.  I was so grateful for the encouragement that I received!  Not only did they assure me that my feelings were normal because I was still grieving, but they suggested I share those feelings with my friend, so that they wouldn't grow into bitterness or resentment.  They also prayed for me and loved on me and reminded me that God has indeed promised me children, and I will have a child in my arms in his perfect timing!

I can't say that all my pain magically disappeared at that moment.  Unanswered questions still roll around in my head.  Every so often, still, stray pain stabs at it did last night when my husband asked what I wanted for my 30th birthday and I replied, "To be 6 months pregnant like I was supposed to." But, knowing what some of these incredible women are dealing with on a daily basis - job troubles, family situations, health issues or financial challenges - and being able to see their sincere, peaceful, loving smiles, I regained my hope.

The next morning, my friend actually approached me to discuss the situation.  She wanted to be sure that she was being sensitive enough, and wanted to let me know that God had laid my situation on her heart, and she'd prayed for me the night before.

Not only am I grateful for her sensitivity to my needs and to what the Holy Spirit was telling her, but now I can view my other friend - the one who is still coming to terms with being biologically childless - in a completely new light.  I have been in both their shoes, and I'm learning that's the only way to truly gain perspective. 

If David had been crowned and recognized as king as soon as Samuel had anointed him, he probably would not have had to endure the ordeals that the jealousy-crazed Saul forced upon him.  He would not have had to hide in caves, build an army of thieves and rabble-rousers, or feign madness to survive.    He also would not have become the powerful, humble, quick-to-repent ruler that he later proved to be.

If I have to endure the storms, I don't simply want to come out of them sopping wet, complaining about the rains.   I want to come through them knowing I've shared my umbrella with others, and they've gotten through a little less battered by the weather.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Notes from the Litterbox

Dear Diary,

Today is gonna be AWESOME!!!

It's been great so far.  First, when I woke up - before the big bright ball lights up the sky - I went to perform my most important duty of the day.  I have to wake up my People!

They don't let me sleep with them in their Big Kitty Bed, even though there is room for me.  (But that's okay.  Sometimes, when they leave for the day, I test it, just to make sure it is still a good bed for them.)  So I wait outside the door every morning and I meow to make sure they don't sleep in.  Sometimes, they don't hear me and I worry that they won't wake up in time to feed me, so I meow louder, and I keep meowing.  Usually it's the Short Curvy One who gets up first, and I follow her into the White Room.  She uses her litter box (which transforms into a water bowl, OMG!) and pets me.  If I purr, she hugs me.  Which is great, but she squeezes kind of hard.  Then the Furless One wakes up and goes downstairs.  He looks at my bowls and ignores them.  Sometimes he goes into my toilet and scoops out my poo.  What could the People possibly want with that stuff?  He puts it into little bags, like he is going to save it for later.  People are so gross sometimes.  After he looks at my bowls, I lick myself several times.  

The Furless One doesn't feed me, so I play with his feet.  He LOVES it!  He picks me up and shoves his face in mine.  He keeps making a noise that sounds like "NONOSTOPITNOCUTITOUTNONO!"  Actually, the Short Curvy One does, too.  That must be how they say they love me!  That's so cute!  They also try to give me baths a lot, with water from a little blue bottle, when I sit on the tables.  Silly People.  They don't understand that I clean MYSELF.  Several times a day.  In fact, I'm doing it right now.

I wait for the Short Curvy One to put food into my bowl.  She keeps filling it with this hard crunchy stuff but it is SOOO gross.  If I dance around and sing loudly enough, for a long enough time, when she seems pre-occupied with something that isn't me, she will sometimes reward my talents with some soft gooey food from a can.  OMG I love that stuff!  I could swim in it!  I mean, I would if I liked to swim, of course.

Then they hurry to leave me alone and guard then house until they come home.  I lick myself a few more times, and watch them leave from the back of the chair - my chair, that is.  I heard the Short Curvy One say something about it being my throne.  I don't know exactly what a throne is, but it sounds like something very special and I should probably be proud to have one of my own.

I eat a couple more bites of that nasty crunchy stuff, but then I get really bored.  I wish that they'd leave that bright box on for me.  The one in the food room, that beeps and spins things in circles.  That is the coolest thing I've ever seen!  The best part is that when the things start to turn inside, they also smell really yummy!  I keep hoping it'll pop open and drop a treat for me, but it never does.  Maybe I have to dance better and sing louder for it.

Well, there's plenty more to do today, so I made myself a list so I wouldn't forget anything:

8:30 - 8:45 - Lick myself
8:45 - 10:30 - Nap on rug
10:30 - 11:15 - Watch birds
11:15 - 12:00 - Tease neighbor's idiot beagle
12:00 - 1:30 - Lick myself
1:30 - 2:15 - Nap on couch
2:15 - 3:00 - Explore basement
3:00 - 3:05 - Try to eat dry kibble
3:05 - 3:30 - Sniff in trash can for something better to eat
3:30 - 3:45 - Lick myself
3:45 - 4:30 - Nap on bed (remember: leave thank-you present!)
4:30 - 10:15 - Attempt to secure treats from the Short Curvy One
10:15 - 10:30 - Poop in litter box WHILE Furless One is cleaning it
10:30 - ? - Guard the People's bedroom from intruders and/or insects

Wow, so much to do!  Well, dear diary, I'd better get started.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it!  Maybe I'll switch things up and take my nap first, after all.

Love and licks,
Thor "Thundercat" Godlove

Psalm 45:1

I haven't been working with my blog much lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been writing.  Based on what I have been through in the past few months, I feel like I can really relate to King David's psalms - especially the ones in which he is crying out to a God he can't feel or hear.  He is never unsure of the existence of God, or even of that God's love, perfect will, or strength.  Rather, he is acutely aware of his own imperfections before that God, of his own failures and those of the people around him.  Inspired by those words, I wrote.  I had the opportunity to share this as yet unnamed poem with the congregation at North Church last weekend, and I wanted to share it here, too.  If there were people who needed to hear it in the small group I was with on Saturday, then surely there must be many more who need to read it, and who have access to this site. 

God, where did you go? Can't you hear me anymore?
I am crying out at the top of my lungs -
My prayers couldn't possibly be louder.
Don't stop your ears to me now, Lord.
No one else is listening.
I am utterly alone in my sorrow.
At dawn and at dusk it haunts me.
It is like a wild animal closing in for the kill.
Emotions control me.
I am their puppet, a slave to bitterness and heartbreak.
Through my tears I see those who were once my close friends
Laugh and talk and commune with you.
That door seems closed to me now.
I see their joy as through dusty windows -
Outside, looking in,
But shut out entirely from happiness.
When I consider the days I knew so lately,
Days of peace, of hope and great wonder,
I come before your throne.
I am broken and beaten.
I plead for the return of my joy.
I cry out, Lord, I'm shouting!
Compensation for my struggles!
Retribution for my pain!
I ache, I weep, I lay dying here,
Bled dry of my own solutions,
Of tears, of time.
I am a cracked shell of who I was
And who you called me to be,
Dust crushed under the feet of those who do not understand me.
And yet you, Lord,
Breather of life into man,
Speak no words,
Whisper no apology as you raise me,
Gently lifting my face to meet yours.
You hold my trembling hands
As you help me to stand, to walk,
Like a child taking hesitant steps.
Do not hide your face from me again, Lord,
I cry.
Without a word you speak to me,
Softly in my heart,
And I know it is I who hid from you,
Rejecting the promises you laid before me,
Simply because they were yet unseen.
I should turn away again, this time in shame, oh, God,
Because of all my imperfections.
But you keep me in your tender gaze,
Aware of my sins, my stains,
Loving me still,
And waiting for our eyes to meet again.