monochrome sun

A Blog for My Bits.

Waiting for you

You are conveniently in place.   
I know where you are.   
I look down at my belly, at the indication of you,  
through the ribbed fabric of my dress. 

Trying to express my anticipation, 
I wonder if I should stop. 
This could be an interruption without end, 
and the day requires more of me. 

I am your mother. 
You are celebrated by my soul,  
in my conscious moments 
and the in-betweens. 

My head is full, 
mind is foggy, 
breath is held, 
heart exposed. 

I say I'm guarded, 
but those are just words. 
A heart this eager 
could never be safe.

Aunt Melody

06/15/1951 – 03/20/2022

I’m told that when I was a baby Aunt Melody slept on the floor by my crib when she came to visit. She couldn’t wait to hear me stir and wake up each morning. According to her, being with me was like Christmas every day.

Never having children of her own, I, her “favorite niece” (her only niece), was the closest thing she had to a daughter.

I give this context, because I know she would want her feelings for me to be honored and I want to articulate, to some degree, how she allowed unconditional love to change her.

Have you ever been fussed over by Aunt Melody? Or, have you ever witnessed her fuss over great jazz, shoes, or miniatures? Well, imagine being at the top of that lineup.

It felt like a lot of pressure at times, because she had high standards, the strongest of opinions, and a deep boldness for sharing them.

When I was 19 I left home (in Pennsylvania) and moved to Florida to begin my adulthood. I moved in with Aunt Melody. And while I was so excited, I also had reservations that she would realize I was a real person. I knew how she felt about real people.

And you know – she did get to know me on a deeper level, as a real person, and vice versa. But I saw, in real time, a woman transition to more of a loving mother, who often had to let go more than she knew was possible, as she watched me grow, become increasingly autonomous, and have differing opinions.

For example, I like oregano, which was a borderline sin to her.

She loved the word juxtaposition. Mostly to describe types of artistic expression – or her relationship with Cokie – champagne and beer.

I also know she saw that in herself.

The juxtaposition of her opinionated, high-maintenance self, with her unwavering desire to lay down her pride and prejudices, taught me so much about the refining work of Jesus. She wanted Him to love through her and perfect her desires.

And further, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever was/is her heart’s utmost desire.

She would regularly pray for more of Him and less of her. She was most at peace when abiding in Him and giving Him lordship of her being.

I feel the same.

Now, remarkably by His grace and mercy, she is united with Him in paradise. He is her paradise.

And in Him:

  • Her pride is irrelevant
  • Her humor perfected
  • Her sorrow abolished
  • Her joy complete.

Pain.

What is true: God is good. He is unfathomably gracious and kind. As my fear (literal fear and reverence) for Him grows, lesser fears fade away and I am left in the arms of the Most High.

Recently, I realized I would rather languish daily, my heart a raging sea, as I wake each morning panting for His presence, than have comfort and convenience cradle me to sleep and lead me away from Him.

Nothing matters – literally nothing matters – if He is not my first love.

In November we moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. Praise the Lord, I have kept my job and am working from home. Joe started a new job the first week of this year; already he has a second offer, pursuing a “dream job,” if you will, and he plans to accept. This is an interesting market. We continue to pursue His will in our work and wants.

Last April I found out I was pregnant, on Friday 4/2 to be exact, and by Wednesday 4/7 I began to miscarry. By my estimation, I was between 7-8 weeks. We were not trying to get pregnant, but it happened, and then it was taken away. Many times I have attempted to write about this for public consumption, but I actually have no words. Nothing captures the grief, except my guttural cries to the Lord, which I cannot pen and would not want to. The pain does not go away, and nothing negates the loss, but the crashing sorrow becomes more spaced out. “You grow around your grief.”

Since my first miscarriage, I have had two subsequent chemical pregnancies, one in August and another in October. Chemical pregnancies are not visible on ultrasound and occur at less than 5 weeks gestation, so many women lose them and assume their periods just came late. Chemical pregnancies are not accounted for in statistical data on miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss, as the numbers would be significantly elevated (this makes sense to me and I find it helpful to know). These types of pregnancies are detected by blood tests and sometimes home pregnancy tests, often by women hyper-sensitive to their bodies during IVF cycles and in the wake of miscarriages. In my case, it would have been incredibly easy to “miss” these two, but I was hyper vigilant with testing, so now I know.

I have been depressed for several months, but not about pregnancy loss specifically. I have needed to process the past six years of my life in Colorado. But I do not know how to (yet). This will be a long journey.

For today, here I am.

God’s sovereignty and engagement in my depression and grief is beyond comprehension.

Proust Questionnaire

  • What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    • Community.
  • What is your greatest fear?
    • Being controlled by my emotions.
  • What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
    • Fear.
  • What is the trait you most deplore in others?
    • Lack of critical thinking.
  • Which living person do you most admire?
    • My dad.
  • What is your greatest extravagance?
    • Postmates deliveries (almost daily).
  • What is your current state of mind?
    • Calm.
  • What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
    • Happiness, for those who consider it a virtue.
  • On what occasion do you lie?
    • I consider “spinning” things a lie, and I probably do this a lot.
  • What do you most dislike about your appearance?
    • My non-flat stomach.
  • Which living person do you most despise?
    • N/A
  • What is the quality you most like in a man?
    • Integrity
  • What is the quality you most like in a woman?
    • Non-threatened confidence.
  • Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    • Rock on. Game changer.
  • What or who is the greatest love of your life?
    • Joe and Chunk.
  • When and where were you happiest?
    • That is not an easy question to answer.
  • Which talent would you most like to have?
    • A photographic memory.
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
    • I would change my tendency toward “all-or-nothing” thinking.
  • What do you consider your greatest achievement?
    • My marriage – 6 years and counting.
  • If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
    • A cat.
  • Where would you most like to live?
    • Vero Beach, Florida.
  • What is your most treasured possession?
    • My engagement ring.
  • What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
    • A complete lack of the presence of God.
  • What is your favorite occupation?
    • The one I am in currently, banking.
  • What is your most marked characteristic?
    • My enthusiasm (maybe) or depth of thought.
  • What do you most value in your friends?
    • Their ability to get me out of myself.
  • Who are your favorite writers?
    • Francis Schaeffer, CS Lewis, Jim Collins, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jonathan Haidt
  • Who is your hero of fiction?
    • Maybe Gandalf.
  • Which historical figure do you most identify with?
    • CS Lewis – how he processes information and his worldview.
  • Who are your heroes in real life?
    • My dad, one of my former bosses, Tim Keller.
  • What are your favorite names?
    • Jude, Warren, James, Alexander, Evelyn.
  • What is it that you most dislike?
    • A social justice warrior/self-righteous mentality, including the self-righteousness in myself.
  • What is your greatest regret?
    • Any time I have significantly hurt Joe.
  • How would you like to die?
    • At peace. Preferably in my sleep, but at peace wherever I am.
  • What is your motto?
    • Do what you do best and hire the rest.

Holiday 2020

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, table for two. I thought I would feel more lonely, thought I would grieve the usual griefs. Alas, not so… I could not shake the immeasurable joy. The past five years have been the most stretching years of my life (I can’t speak for Joe, but I assume both of our lives). The experiences, responsibilities, agonies, griefs, etc. cannot be penned into less than a book. But every single thing has brought us here. Here – into a human experience we seem less prepared for than when we thought we knew more. Here – into the reality of the permanence intended for marriage and the profound love that only comes from saying “I still choose you” over a thousand times (including when one has “fallen out of love”). Here – into greater knowledge of who He is and a sort of impatience to know more. Here – into the belly of abundance where we learn to give and love and lead when we’re in over our heads. There is so much more to say. But bottom line, here we are. It has been the antithesis of easy at almost every step… but immeasurably worthwhile.

Christmas

While overwhelmed by a whirlwind of goodness, I am more emotional, present, and unprepared than before. I attribute this to a medication change, but it’s probably more than that.

How did I get here? Slowly. I cannot say I was brought into my calling, but a realization of it.