Two fantastic (well, relatively) things happened for me today. Number one: I had no awful task I had to do! No terrible doctor appointment! No surgery! No plot shopping! No calls from the funeral home! Or from pathology! Or wakes! Or funerals! Or burials! Really, it felt good.
Number two: I started the day with chocolate cake for breakfast. Which I simply should have done before. I am not responsible. It was there. Pre-cut. Moist. I did what I had to do. It was easier than the tedious process of pouring a bowl of cereal, open and closing a bottle of milk... I mean really! No, that's not responsible, not irresponsible. I believe there is a "Carrie" responsible for the cake's presence, from this wild meal train that circles me these days... just recovering from a Dawn dinner of enchilada heaven at the moment, actually. You all have been too good. I feel spoiled. And guilty. And fatter. :)
Anyway, after my requisite cocoa infusion, I prepared to take four kids to my Bible Study (it has child care. Which is AWESOME!:) One where I could be anonymous (and thus, much safer from a public weeping display) because "no one knew." Well, one person knew, because I had excitedly told her, last Thursday, that I was pregnant. And last Bible Study, I was. I had gone straight from there to a routine Obgyn appointment.
It felt like maybe, in some parallel universe, I was getting a "do-over." Everything was so the same as last week. Except I sat in the back in case something particularly stirring was said.
At least I have discovered the point of my pain. It's where the "before" touches the "after." Unfortunately, that is everywhere. In the salsa jar I must have opened when she was alive. In notes I wrote to myself about getting more preggo shirts. In the foolish Christmas cards that, yes, I was trying to send out for Easter... :) In any place at all I had been that was more than seven days ago. Ouch! Ouch. Ouch...
But quite enough about me. (For the moment anyway.) I am truly longing to focus my attention elsewhere for now. Like the fact that today, we commemorate when Jesus had the Last Supper with His apostles, washed their feet showing us how to be servants of each other, instituted a couple of major sacraments, agonized in the Garden, was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the Jews, interrogated and imprisoned for the night; in other words, a theologically and liturgically exhausting night that would take more than a lifetime to fully understand and appreciate. I love trying to, usually. And I love, love, love the services tonight: the Christian Passover, the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the ceremonial washing of feet, the works.
However I do not love attending night services with young children. Therefore, my husband and I take turns attending for these three great nights of the year. So tonight, he was there, and I was at soccer practice with my older girls at the YMCA (figured they needed an activity break), while my three year old chased three little boys with a hard plastic brontosaurus held by the tail and a shockingly hearty RAAAAHHH! (I distinctly heard two child care workers say in unison, "Oh. My. (expletive)."
So despite the wealth of meaning this day holds, tonight I'm going to just focus on one thing: Particularly these days, I can really appreciate that the Lord voluntarily suffered for me. I wouldn't choose suffering, personally. I'm not crazy about it actually. Or unusually "strong." No, really, I'm not. I'm just putting one foot in front of the other and holding on to my faith for dear life like any of you would do in a lousy situation.
Yet God Himself chose to come down to this vale of tears, live a human life, and die a really lousy death because He loves me and wants me with Him forever. Me and my whole family, living and deceased. And all of you. It helps put the events of the past few days in perspective. That night, He knew what I would suffer this week, and He suffered with me.
Now for a couple quick pics of a happy moment from my past with a peaceful moment in my present. Here is a picture of a solitary white rose in the Garden of Olives, taken when I went to Israel. Okay, it's grainy and ghostly but still. It was way more beautiful than the picture implies, so use your imagination. A mild, clear evening among ancient trees, the scent of eucalyptus, Gethsemane.
And here's another white rose, from my bouquet after I "found out." Some of the red roses disappeared in petals into a little grave. But the white rose, the one that was supposed to represent the baby? Going strong, outlasting the red ones I have left. Cool.
Thank you Lord. I love you back. Hold her close tonight, and us too. Cuz I know You can do both at once. We really aren't so far apart, after all.
"Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried." Isaiah 53:4