It's been quite a day.
I have been overcome with waves of disappointment and a deep longing for Zachary over and over again since the alarm clock went off this morning. It's just when I say to myself, "I'm doing pretty well today," that the walls come crashing down around me once more.
C.S. Lewis described these feelings in his book, A Grief Observed, after the death of his wife: "Grief is like a long and winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape...[But] sometimes the surprise is the opposite one; you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you thought you left behind miles ago. That is when you wonder whether the valley isn't a circular trench. But it isn't. There are partial recurrences but the sequence doesn't repeat."
So I guess it's just three steps forward, two steps back on this journey. And even though it feels like it many times, I am not trudging around a circular valley...I'm still moving forward. And, more importantly, I'm becoming more of the person God intended for me to be. It's not fun, but it's worth it.
I went back to the clinic where I work today to say 'hi' to all of my wonderful co-workers before actually starting work later this week - it was good, and it felt like one big step forward. As I was leaving, I saw the man who works in the cafeteria downstairs in our building. For the last couple of months before Zachary was born, he saw me on a fairly regular basis (what can I say?...I was a hungry, pregnant lady!). He would ask me all of the standard questions...when was my due date, did we know if we were having a boy or girl, had we picked a name yet, etc. When he saw me downstairs today, he got a huge grin on his face and yelled excitedly across the walkway, "You had your baby!!".
As I gave him the short version of our story, his face just dropped and his eyes filled with tears. He said that he was so sorry...sorry that we had to go through this and sorry that it was so hard on my body. But then he looked me straight in the eye and said very gently, "It's okay to try again." I was taken back for a moment, but for some reason, I was genuinely comforted. I said a quiet 'thank you' and walked out to my car.
But as I got into my car, I began to sob. I thought back to last time that I had driven out of that parking lot...39 weeks pregnant, and I thought I was just so miserable...in agony waiting for our baby to arrive. How I wish I could go back! I have a feeling that I wouldn't be wincing after being kicked in the ribs or whining to Shaun about my swollen feet.
Then I started to think about the future and being pregnant again...the cafeteria man's words echoed in my mind...and suddenly I was overcome with the most gut-wrenching fear. Was it really okay to try again? Would I be "allowed" to bring my baby home from the hospital? What if I had to leave empty-handed one more time? Would I be crazy to take that risk? It was a fear that gripped my heart and would not let go. I was utterly terrified...and still sitting in the parking lot. It took everything in me to ask God to bind up that fear that had overtaken my mind and heart and give me the strength to start my car. I knew, even as my mind was racing, that those thoughts were not from God, but it was truly paralyzing. I called Shaun as I drove away, and he spoke truth and wisdom into my thoughts and prayed for me. Unfortunately, I would be naive to think that I will not revisit this 'country' as C.S. Lewis refers to it, though. Fear...definitely a few steps back.
But I know that God is faithful, and I know that His promises are true, and I know that He will give us the desire of our hearts soon enough. Growing up, my mom used to quote Jim Elliot and say to me, "Courtney, don't doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light." So I will keep walking in faith, trusting the same God who created light out of nothing to bring light into our situation. Three steps forward, two steps back. It's still progress...and healing.