It’s been a while. Almost 2 months. We survived the holidays. They were hard, as should be expected, but good. We found a little ornament to remember Sam, click here to see it. We baked cinnamon rolls and went out for Indian food on Christmas. I didn’t mail out a single Christmas present *yikes* but I’m a big believer in seasons. This was the season to just soak in the peace of Christmas, read, listen to carols, poke cloves into oranges, get together with friends rather than attend parties.
I keep thinking about sitting down to write this announcement, but I never get brave. I am afraid… of lots of things. I am vulnerable, and so I am defensive. I am afraid that I’ll invite you to walk with me, and then you’ll have to watch me go down into the Valley of the Shadow again, maybe even to a deeper spot than I already am. It’s really lonely down here. Happy people don’t come down to you to comfort. They ask you to come up and out of the Valley to be comforted. Maybe that’s why Christ is such a good comforter. He doesn’t call from up there, Come over to our house. Come to church. Come up to my happiness, and then I’ll be there for you. He calls to me from down here in the Valley, as the Man of Sorrows, from the lowliness of the Cross, and says, I am here yearning and praying for wholeness with you. I am here, pierced with My scars and My rejection. I am here with the, “It is finished.” Come to me, all you weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. And I am realizing that His invitation to come is so gracious, because the weary can only come so far, and He must know that, because He has been human before. I am in such a weak and helpless state, the only invitation to Come that I can answer is that of Christ. He says, Come, and there He is. Grace.
I am afraid that, most of all, you’ll forget about Sam, and you’ll want me to forget about him. I don’t like being asked, “So are you feeling better?” I hate it actually. I’m allowed to not feel better, you know? I don’t need to be fixed. Heaven will fix me. It’s okay that this is hard for me. It’s okay that it’s all too much for me. God doesn’t need me to tie all of this up into a nice neat bow. He doesn’t need me to be the author and finisher of this. He doesn’t need me to paste on a smile. He’s that big.
This time last year, Steven and I were carrying Sam. It’s still very vivid to me. Every morning, I would wake up and think, “Is this the day?” I wanted to hold him so intentionally, to protect him from those who didn’t think he was worth carrying, and introduce him to all of those who hoped for him. I wanted to rejoice in who he was fearfully and wonderfully made to be, even in the brevity of his life on earth. I was surprised when the day came for Sam to go home, how my first thought as I opened my eyes was, “This is the day.” How gracefully we slipped apart, he into heaven, and me into the Valley.
I am also afraid that I’ll be expected to provide reassurance, and I can’t give that. I don’t know what the future holds, and there is no promise that happiness immediately follows sorrow. Sometimes sorrows are heaped upon sorrows, and we don’t know why.
It’s with this hurting yet hopeful heart that I tell you about the baby we are expecting in June. I wish I had more than just a broken heart with which to carry the hope I have for our Junebug, but this is what I have. We are already in love with this sweet little one. I have already treasured the time I have had, cherishing even the morning sickness. Every time I get to hear the heartbeat, it all feels so miraculous. I don’t know how it will end up. I wish I had control of that. But I know that today I walk down in the Valley, carrying this miracle with my finite understanding of things, with no knowledge of the future, and with the gift of faith.
I wrote this post several days ago, and was waiting to make sure all the family that I wanted to tell ahead of this entry were told. It just so happens to be New Year’s Eve as I hit publish. Steven, Junebug, and I are spending a quiet evening at home, since I cannot be trusted to stay awake until midnight! We ring in the new year quietly, but there is a glow in our hearts, a hope for June… the month of the pearl…