A good morning to you all. And I mean it.
I woke up this morning with a sense that the darkest clouds had passed. I finished re-reading Rabbi Kushner’s book yesterday afternoon and sat down and had a good cry (again). And the tears felt like they cleaned out the corners of my soul that were still hurting. But you know what, I cannot maintain any animosity toward Jennifer. Oh, trust me, I have tried to work up a good head of steam – to get good and angry and go on an emotional tear, but it just isn’t coming. Mostly, I think, because I feel so sad for her. Is it any wonder she didn’t want to go through it all alone? Maybe Harald was right. Maybe our job was to be Jennifer’s parents for five months, not the parent to her baby. I have no doubt that she never consciously intended to end this the way it did, but I also think didn’t or couldn’t know what she herself was feeling and wanting, and so there was no way she could be honest with others if she couldn’t be honest with herself. And I think “How can you practice or teach what you have never known?” I feel great pity for the little girl we thought would be ours. I hope Jennifer is able to make some immediate and miraculous changes, but in my heart I only have a prayer of blessing for both of them.
No one can ever take away the good things that happened to us over the past five months. Those times of immense joy, hopeful expectation – those were all very real and they remain with us. And although we knew we were cared for and loved, perhaps the greatest gift we have experienced is the genuine and extraordinary outpouring of care and affection and true love that we have seen demonstrated for us again and again and again. That our friends, neighbors and loved ones have grieved along side us has kept us from feeling alone. And far from being tested, my faith has been strong, because I have felt the indwelling presence of the Spirit so much the past five days. I have no doubt that God sent the Great Comforter to be with us, and that has given my soul such a feeling of respite.
This morning I went to the Mercy Hospital maternity web site so see if there were pictures of Savannah (Jennifer’s chosen name) and there were, under Jennifer’s name and the birth date of April 2nd. And it was really OK looking at them. I downloaded all the birth day pictures from my camera and ordered them sent to Jennifer from the Target site. Those pictures don’t belong to us any more. I unpacked my hospital bag and put everything away. It felt good to do all these things. I feel like washing clothes, and cleaning off my desk of accumulated mail, and just getting our home back in order. And I think I will take Beulah for a walk today. It is far too nice to stay cooped up inside all day.
I know I will never be the same after what has happened. How could I be? But I am not immobilized. I can move again. I can put one foot in front of another and do the things that need to be done. I am very much alive. And I belong here. This is the poem that has been ruminating in my gut for days:
by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.