This is my first post being back from our whirlwind summer! And I needed to talk about something very important.
Today is the 4 year anniversary of the birth of my 4th child, my son, Abraham.
On August 30th, 2012 I went into labour and delivered at home a little boy, tiny and perfect.
In the last few years I've written about the experience. First writing about it in a post called "Abraham", and last year in a post called "Remembering & Forgetting: Abraham"
At the end of the post I wrote last year, I talked about a little boy at church who was born on Abraham's due date, and who I basically avoided at all costs because it was too painful to see him. I mentioned that I "took a step" and actually talked to his Mom while she was with him, and how this was huge for me. To actually be close to this little boy, this boy who every time I looked at I imagined what my Abraham would have looked like. It was a big deal for me.
But here's the thing....God was planning something. Something that would take this one giant step further. I felt as though God was just near me, providing quiet comfort all these years, and suddenly he shouted, "MOVE FORWARD!!!".
He did it out of love, but it still hurt.
He wasn't saying "move on & forget", he was just saying "move forward".
After much thought, I decided to take a job this summer as a camp cook at the beautiful Pleasant Bay Camp. I knew the job of being a camp cook would be difficult, that it would require early mornings, late nights, sweaty and stressful days, planning to a T, and managing staff.
What I didn't plan on was that the woman leading the Leader In Training (LIT) programme would be living in the cottage next to me. This woman was none other than the woman from church who's son was born on Abrahams due date. The very child and family I had been avoiding was suddenly living next to me, walking around camp where I would see them, and eating in my dining hall every meal. I was suddenly and without warning, face to face with a little boy who had no clue what I've been through, or why I find him upsetting.
What happened during the three week LIT programme weeks though was something I couldn't have planned. I wouldn't have planned it, honestly. I became friends with this little boys wonderful mother and father, and I stopped avoiding their son. He has special dietary needs, and he'd often have a different frozen treat as dessert, and I was able to give him his dessert, and wait for him to say "thank-you", and look into his beautiful eyes and know that just because he was here and Abraham wasn't didn't mean that I had to shut this little guy out.
At one point this woman joked about how we'd been going to church with each other for 5 years and hadn't really talked much or become friends, but how now that we were at camp we were becoming friends.
At the end of the 3 weeks, just before this Mum was set to leave because the LIT programme was finishing, we had a random heart to heart.
She said to me that, even though we weren't friends at the time, she remembers my struggle during the time I had my second mis-carriage. She said that she felt badly that she hadn't said anything to me then, but just wanted me to know that she remembers my loss.
I shared with her then that I appreciated her saying that, and also shared with her how I'd had a miscarriage before that, and how my due date was on her son's birthday, and how us not being friends at church was my fault, my design. I told her I was avoiding her and her son.
I walked away from this encounter feeling God say to me, "you did it!!! You took one giant, giant, GIANT step forward!!!"
I still feel sadness deep in my heart about the loss of Abraham, but the hurt is softer now, somehow.
I feel like letting this little boy from church into my life let the hurt of losing Abraham fade a little. And that hurt needed to fade. There are so many feelings involved in a miscarriage, and most of those feelings are grey, not black or white. So letting go of these mysterious and un-namable feelings is extremely difficult.
Tonight, the kids and I stood by the garden we buried Abraham in, and Abby, my middle child, starts singing "happy birthday" to him, and I burst into tears. She stopped singing and apologized, but I said, "No, I'm not upset at you. I think it's beautiful that you wanted to sing to your brother. I'm crying because it hurts that we'll never have a birthday party for him here with us". Then Keziah, the youngest, pipes up and says, "maybe God is having a birthday party for him?". Then I really cried.
I wish I could see Abraham now, but I am happy with my family and my life. I have 3 amazing, beautiful, talented, smart, fairly whiney kids here on earth with me. I have a super handsome husband who loves me, no matter what crazy crap I'm going through. I have a dog who adores me, a cat who adore me even more, and 2 horses who adore me even more!!!
I realized this summer that moving forward, and moving on are very different things. One involves embracing the loss and the hurt, seeing the beautify that remains, and choosing to live in that new beauty. The other involves bottling up any feelings, pretending the loss never happened, and living with the hurt deep inside, unexpressed.
The Mom of the little boy who I became friends with talked a few times about becoming who you are, in spite of, and because of the hurt and hardships one goes through. You can't forever live in that loss, and let it be a thing in your life that stops you from living. It needs to be the thing that drives you to live. But this happens willingly, not just by chance. You need to take what you've been given, and turn it into a beautiful thing.
One night in early August, one of the kitchen staff and I went out at 1 am to watch a meteor shower. As I lay outside on my quilt, hearing the waves crashing near me on the beach, and seeing stars shoot across the sky above me, I thought about how small I really am, in light of how large the world is. And still, in all of this, I mattered to God. My feelings mattered to him. But more importantly, my heart mattered to him. I came to camp at the beginning of summer expecting to be stretched and to grow, but I ended up stretching and growing in ways I never imagined. God took what was a heart "content" with hiding and hurt, and opened it up, and filled it with a healing balm. I never thought that being close to, and getting to know, the sweet little guy who reminded me of my loss and pain would be the very same child to heal parts of my heart I was "happy" to leave broken and scarred.
I am happy today. Not because of my loss, obviously, but because I can say with joy and healing in my heart, that I am moving forward. I am moving forward with love and gladness in my heart.
If you're reading this, and your pain from a mis-carriage is still so new, and raw and real, I understand you and feel your hurt. But I want to encourage you, and bring some light into your darkness; the pain you feel, the loss you carry with you can be a thing that becomes something beautiful in your life. This can become a step for you to become more of who you were meant to be, to become someone who can love more deeply. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but let it be a part of your heart, and it will happen eventually.
You can understand the loss others suffer more clearly, and can be a light for them. Our darkness can become light for others. Doesn't that sound amazing?! I want to be that, I want to use my hurt for healing, and use my darkness for light.
The pictures on today's post are from the camp that I worked at. Each beautiful sunset, each sunny, beautiful day at the beach reminded me how small I am, but how amazing and wonderful my God is. How he is the one who paints the sky, and creates each life, and he knows me, my family and my sweet little babies waiting for me in heaven.
When I do meet Abraham in heaven, it will be a wonderful day. A beautiful day.
I eagerly await that day!