I sit in the dark of our basement playroom – surrounded by the detritus of a toddler’s busy day and the dim glow of LED lights from the entertainment center.
My boys are both in bed, fast asleep. I should be, too – would be, if not for that late night Diet Coke I drank while we watched a movie on the “big bed.” For a while after we turned out the lights, I lay there with the words coursing through my head. They’ve been doing that lately – entire blog posts (or at least, little tidbits that would make good blog fodder) run through my mind as I drift toward sleep, and then drift out of my grasp entirely by daybreak.
Tonight I decided to make the most of my cola-fueled energy surge and come downstairs to write.
It is so still. The remnants of the week’s snowfall blankets the yard. Our neighborhood doesn’t have streetlights, so after years of well-lit-apartment-complex living, I’m still not used to the complete dark outside our windows. It’s amazing to me that the winter sky does look different, even at night, than it did back in the summer. There’s a cold calmness to it that I had never seen before we moved here.
Our cats yowl and scrape at the garage door. They sleep out there, because otherwise they run rampant and unchecked while we slumber – pulling out garbage, leaving cat hair all over the furniture, having ‘accidents’ on my carpet. Most nights they forgo their little cat carriers with the warm blankets and instead sleep on (or dance all over, judging from the footprints) our cars. Tonight, they sense that I’m just on the other side of the door and beg to come in, snuggle on my feet, warm me with their purring.
The last few days have been bleak. Not so much the weather – that’s been nice enough; if somewhat frigid, at least clear and bright – but in my mood. Roughly a year ago, I lost a baby. My fourth pregnancy, the first one that I actually sailed through the beginning weeks without worry and anxiety. After carrying Smooch to term, I finally believed in my body, in its ability to do this most ‘natural’ of womanly tasks. With a baby keeping me busy, I didn’t obsess over my symptoms and twinges, didn’t read the pregnancy books every night. Looking back, I don’t know whether to be grateful – for those eleven weeks of blissful, pregnant serenity – or to be regretful, of all that I “missed” by just going about my daily life, unaware that those days would be all I’d have with that unknown child.
So this week, I’ve been grieving again. The anniversaries of our losses have been hard for me – the “would have been” due date, the anniversary of finding out I was pregnant, the anniversary of the miscarriage itself. I hear that it’s normal, that many women report that they always remember that date no matter how many years (and subsequent healthy pregnancies) have gone by.
For tonight, I’m just trying to focus on the stillness of the night around me. If I can be fully present in this moment, I keep thinking, I will see the bigger picture. Sometimes my faith struggles to keep up with my reality, you know? Everything that we go through – and we’ve had plenty of good and plenty of bad and a few shakes of totally unthinkable – seems to test my faith. I used to face these things head-on, completely certain that all was well in the universe. Confident that God was in control, loving me and helping me through each moment. Lately? I still want to believe that – but I have times when I just feel like I’m floundering. Some things help – this intentional slowing down and appreciating what is around me helps. Looking into my Smooch’s eyes (well, when he’s not throwing his sippy cup across the room or – latest trick! – coloring on my cabinets when I’m not looking…) helps.
A crisis of faith isn’t always easy to talk about. But I think that it’s probably important for me to do just that – talk about it, write about it. When I come through it, one way or another, I want to be able to look back at the road I’ve traveled. I want to be able to say, look, see that pit? I cleared it! Jumped right over. And see that one? I fell in, and it took a long time to slog my way through it. And that one? Nearly swallowed me whole, like quicksand, but I found the lifeline. After all, what good is a victory if you don’t remember the fight? I do believe, deep in my heart, that faith will win out. And I want to remember that, in case I need it for the next time.