This year I had better intentions for the month. I had planned, not only to be busy but also to be happy. The funny thing about my “happy plan” is that the only thing involved in the “plan” was that I choose to be happy. Certainly this is a possible thing to do, but I might have been smarter to give myself helps along the way.
This doesn’t mean I’m unhappy today, it just means that the melancholy I felt a little yesterday and the grumpy I felt a bit this morning were both confusing surprises to me. I tend to deal better with emotions when I know why I feel them.
But here is what I realized this morning. I was thinking about the coming week because my roommate had asked me if today was my daughter’s birthday. “No,” I said, “it’s (and I had to count the date and days on my fingers) Thursday.” This, then made me realize a lot of interesting similarities that are occurring this year that haven’t occurred since she was actually born….
The week that Sarah was born the camp I worked at (more like the family I lived with) had their staff retreat. This started Monday and went until Wednesday. My former husband and I didn’t go because I was due to give birth on the 9th and so we didn’t sign up, thinking we could have a new baby to take care of on the 14th when the retreat started. We did, however, go and visit them on the Tuesday, the day I went into labor. This year they are having that retreat not only on the same dates, but also at the same location.
Thursday was her day. Until I remembered this, I had totally forgotten that for the first few months after she died I counted the Thursdays. For some reason, her birth/death day falling on the same day of the week this year leads me to feel like some loop is being closed. I stopped counting Thursdays at some point in the first year, but now I know there have been 5 years of Thursdays. Can you believe she would be 5?
There’s no chance to get stuck in grief about it and from the beginning I didn’t want any of it to be about my feelings. Her life wasn’t about me only and my life cannot be about her only. I’m grateful for the gifts God has given. I’m grateful for his grace which holds us. I’m grateful for his perspective- that he reminds me what a very short time we have here on earth.
Other painful and miraculous things have happened in the last five years. What sticks out to me is God’s presence and his tender care. I’m not just saying that to sound spiritual. What CS Lewis said is true, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.” I don’t know if “shout” is the word I would use, but I certainly have felt held tightly many times. I’ve felt looked upon, listened to, led forward… maybe even poked at… by God. He is not just a God for emergencies, but he’s a God for every day.
After the doctor handed us our daughter and she was inches from oblivion, I started to head out into the future in my mind. It was not a good thing to do and thankfully Gorm’s example of being present brought me back from that horrible future tripping to live in the moment we were experiencing together. What I marvel at now is that some of my fears in that moment did come true but also so much more. Much more beauty and love and growth.. so much more healing, laughter and goodness has come than I could have guessed.
God doesn’t waste anything. And I’m so grateful to be here, grateful for both sadness and joy, grateful for a few hours with the most perfect little girl and grateful that I will, in fact, see her again one day.
Happy Birthday, Sarah!!