Monday, February 14, 2011

The Most Exquisite Pain

It seems such a strange title for a Valentine's Day/birthday/gratitude post.  But, what an appropriate day to complete this labor of love and bring it to delivery, a day where love and birth swim sychronized around my life creating concentric rings of grace, the kind that demands thanksgiving!
It is a most exquisite pain, to hold your daughters close the moment hello mingles with goodbye in the most bittersweet of ways.

We were left alone with them,  Alexandra and Christina.  And in those brief moments we loved on those two babies a whole lifetime of caring and longing and nurturing and dreaming.  We took turns holding them, heads pressed together over them. Tracing the outline of each hand and foot.  Caressing the details of tiny faces, eyes that would never open.  Running our fingers over the familiar curves of elbows and knees.  Loving how much they looked like the Dancer. Washing them with salty tears.  Memorizing. The salt that burns in an open wound heals and preserves, seals the memories into flesh.  And every last bit a gift.

We kissed them. 
Then, let go, christening them both with the middle name,

Never before had I experienced the sweetness of simple time, just being all there. My hard, cynical heart in the breaking and unbearable crucible of loss was softened. The softening led to remaking, renewing, a healing of the old Edenic wound that bled out the belief, "God isn't good."  And this is grace, not that the flame is doused but that while we walk the circle of grief's blazing furnace, He is with us.  His glorious presence rewrites the old script and reads, "He is good!  He is good!"

Since that early, dark morning, I have learned that this story isn't ours at all but His.   We've had no choice but to declare His sovereignty.  But more, His goodness.   But what a wonderful thing to be bound to, a lifetime of sharing Him and seeing how from this one thing a thousand blossoms spring forth!

Today, a day of gratitude, I remember their lives and all His graces on that Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I am certain I will miss something.  #'s 558-586

two ultrasounds
arms and legs rolling, flutters beneath my heart
the scent of their newborn skin
every touch
a diagnosis - Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome
time together as a family during the pregnancy
our family and friends who shared their homes, their time, their love
our pastor, Bill, who worked to get the Navigator by my side
the K's, who were there the moment I cried the first time
my sister sitting with me
sharing in their dance
love letters
the offers of grave sites
the use of a beach house to spend time together as a family at the Christmas Exodus
the sensitivity of the doctors and nurses and hospital staff
a small white heart with a blue tear drop on my door
the local church who supplied dresses and bonnets for the girls
the polaroid photos the nurse took, the only ones I have of our girls
the shells filled with their footprints
the staff at church that played music and printed the bulletins for the memorial service
the Dancer and Hunter whose sweet snuggles filled my empty, aching arms
all who prepared meals and sent flowers and cards and emails
all those who walked the path before who came alongside to cry, to comfort, to offer what they had
the community of women who have lost children
my parents- are words enough?  They were there through every last bit and revealed his grace in ways I can never fully share.
the Navigator's parents traveling many after their births and for their memorial service
the Navigator's arms and words and loving me and walking with me
peace that truly defies understanding
His walking through the fire with us
sharing Him with the general's wife at the Navigator's graduation from basic training
two Novembers years later, the conceptions of Little Bug, then Baby E, whose name means "whole"

What a song!  Our song. His story.  (Thank you Christa Wells.)

You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep
Your’re gonna soak the pillow
for many weeks
You’re gonna cry
Why me?

But in spite of the ache
that doesn’t go away
You’ll be sharing your story
one rainy day
And at the next table somebody catches your words
He hears a truth that he’s never heard
He takes it back to the marriage he’d given up on
Hands it down to his daughter
who writes it into song
You didn’t know

A thousand things are happening in this one thing
Like a thousand fields nourished by a single drop of rain
So honey, wrap yourself in promise
while you wait the morning light
A thousand things are happening tonight

You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep
‘cause for the moment all that you can see
Is what you’ve lost , lost
Why me?

But in the midst of the most exquisite pain
you’re drawn into a peace that You cannot explain
and the praises you sing of a sovereign God
reach the girl whose last hope is gone
she never thought there was purpose in anything here
now the seed has been planted and it’s taking root there
You didn’t know


A thousand things are happening tonight
You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep
A thousand miracles you’ll have to wait and see

(Song written and performed by Christa Wells.  Lyrics found at

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