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March 30, 2012

These Things Take Time

When Lent started this year, I figured I should focus on it not only as I have in the past—as a way to put the distractions aside and step closer to God again—but also as a means of concentrated healing. The things I gave up are the things I turn to for comfort or just to escape for a while. The things I decided to do instead were meant to make me carve out just ten minutes a day to be quiet and try to listen.


Holy Week starts on Sunday, and while I am excited that Lent is almost over (chocolate and more Downton Abbey, please!), in a way I don’t feel like I’ve come as far as I’d hoped. On the surface, here’s the deal: I’ve thought I was pregnant twice since we lost Ethan. The first time was that nasty stomach bug, which, at one point, I was sadly considering naming. The other was this past week, and it hit me really hard. I know it hasn’t been long that I haven’t been pregnant, but I missed out on some of the really good parts that would have been happening around now. I want a baby bump. I want to feel a baby kick. And in the end, I want to hold a squirmy newborn.


I am at peace with Ethan’s not being with us. I firmly believe that he is with God. At the end of last year, I finished reading The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn. Hahn, a Catholic convert, explains how he sees the Book of Revelation come to life in the Mass. In fact, it is the Mass’s many direct connections with Scripture that led him to convert to Catholicism from his lifelong Protestant faith. But that’s another story (Rome Sweet Home, to be precise: read it!).


The point is, he explains how the “Hosanna” is our chance on earth to truly connect with Heaven. The “Holy, holy, holy” response is prefaced this way: “And so, we join the angels and the saints as they sing their unending hymn of praise.” Those in Heaven are constantly singing glory to God. When we do it on earth, our voices meet theirs, and as C. S. Lewis would say (if he were Catholic), it is a moment at which “time touches eternity.” Every day I participate in Mass, I have the chance to praise God with my little one, whom I am confident is with Him.


My prayer for my children is that they will be happy, healthy, and holy. My Ethan is already perfect in these ways. So I am not sad for him. But I am sad for me.


I have scribbled out the weeks of my pregnancy I had marked on the calendar shortly before we learned Ethan had died. The marks are big, but I don’t consciously notice them. I rarely, if ever, consider how big I would be by now if he had lived, even when I see friends who are due within a week of my due date. But still, there is some part of me that thinks I should be hungrier, sleepier, wearing different clothes, feeling something move.


I am learning that there are still parts of my grieving process I need to give up to God. I cannot choose when I will finish grieving. I doubt I ever will “finish.” I also can’t rush it by willing another child into my life. These things are out of my hands.


As Lent comes to a close, I don’t feel much farther along than I was when I started. I wonder whether Easter will really be a joyful time for me. I’ve met with some huge obstacles. I let myself get held back. There are likely more challenges ahead.


Perhaps I’m not where I expected to be. But then again, I might well be where I really need to be.

  1. […] this weekend, the feast of the Holy Spirit given to the Apostles, of the birth of the church. There is joy at the end of this Easter season, in a way that I didn’t have the courage to hope for. But then, […]

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