Sunday, August 30, 2009

More patience, less patients

That's what I need.

Two weeks ago today, J drove himself (sorry, J!) to the ER in the wee hours of the morning, where they promptly admitted him, gave him morphine for his stomach pain and oxygen and and IV when he almost passed out, and ran tests only to discover that his appendix had perforated. Apparently, when he told me that he couldn't hold crying Baby Boy on Saturday night because his stomach hurt, he really meant it. Who knew? Anyway, J spent 3 days in the hospital recovering and battling a returning temp of 104. I spent 3 days running back and forth between the hospital, running kids to school and trying not to fall asleep at the wheel (I did run a red light on accident in my sleep-deprived state), and running Baby Boy to the doctors for weight checks (he was not gaining weight).

This week Nurse Brenda called me from Mister's school saying Mister had a stomach ache and needed to come home. No, his appendix did not rupture. Nor was he really sick, unless you count sick-of-going-to-school-all-day as really "sick".

On Thursday night, though, Sweetie woke us up, crying. She was really sick.

So these past two weeks have left me very much in need of patience and very done with having too many patients.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


If you suck in when you step on the scale, it doesn't change the number.

Although it does make it so you can see the number.

But that might not be a good thing.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Opposition in all things

Yesterday I got in the shower and had just shampooed up my hair when, as if on cue, the baby monitor lit up and the wailing began. I felt like I was experiencing deja vu. I vividly remember the exact scenario happening when Mister was a baby, a very colicy baby, I might add. I remember standing there as the water poured over me and crying. I was just a new mother who simply wanted to take a shower at 1 in the afternoon. "What about me? What about me?" I said to nobody. And, amazingly enough, Somebody answered me. The thought came into my head forcefully, as if it had been said out loud: "It's not about you."

That was a turning point for me, my own personal Moses-moment, when I really understood for the first time that life in general is not and should not be about me. A thought that, at the time, like Moses, "I never had supposed."

So I have been thinking this past week, as I have been juggling a crying baby around the house and as I have been sitting out on the patio in the 112-degree head to calm his little stomach, about opposition and the paradoxes of the gospel life--loosing yourself to find yourself, receiving all only after giving all, and so on. The three postpartums I've experienced have been very difficult for me, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, as I'm sure they are for most women. But that's probably part of the paradox. Would I treasure this so much

without this?
Would I love so deeply without giving so dearly?

In her book
A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard describes the horror and viciousness of a giant water bug that poisons frogs, fish, and insects with one bite. This bite dissolves the victim’s insides—all but the skin, through which the giant water bug sucks out the victim’s body. Dillard then writes, “That it’s rough out there and chancy is no surprise. Every live thing is a survivor on a kind of extended emergency bivouac. But at the same time we are also created. In the Koran, Allah asks, ‘The heaven and the earth and all in between, thinkest thou I made them in jest?’ It’s a good question. What do we think of the created universe, spanning an unthinkable void with an unthinkable profusion of forms? . . . Pascal uses a nice term to describe the notion of the creator’s, once having called forth the universe, turning his back to it: Deus Absconditus. Is this what we think happened?”

Before Dillard answers her own question, she spends a great deal of time in her book describing her walks along Tinker Creek where she was privileged to see God’s creations and to experience what she calls “beauty, a grace wholly gratuitous.” She then ends her book, saying, “Divinity is not playful. The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it, but ignore it, or see.”

Dillard looks at the oppositions in the world—the cruelty and the beauty—and can only make sense of it by concluding that our purpose is to take the time out of the busyness and nothingness of life to really see our surroundings and give thanks for them.

Although I agree with Dillard about the importance of taking time to really see, and although I find her writing beautiful, I’m glad I know that opposition in all things—even in the creation of the giant water bug—has a deeper purpose than she gives it. I’m glad I can find comfort and joy in the togetherness of my family because I have been single and lonely. I’m glad I can feel the peace of watching my baby sleep because I have felt the turmoil and helplessness of watching my baby cry.

Dillard searches all over creation, trying to philosophically think of the answer herself without doing what she should do the entire time: going to the Creator Himself and asking Him the meaning of opposition in life. After 271 pages exploring (among a few other things) the coexistence of both extreme cruelty and breathtaking beauty in nature, Dillard ends without a definitive answer. Despite that, she ends as she should, by praising and thanking God for the oppositions. I’ll quote her because I wish I could express praise and gratitude the way that she does: “I go my way, and my left foot says ‘Glory,’ and my right foot says ‘Amen’: in and out of Shadow Creek, upstream and down, exultant, in a daze, dancing, to the twin silver trumpets of praise.”

I admit that, unlike Dillard, I'm not to the point of glorifying and amen-ing the sleeplessness and pain and mood swings that is postpartum, but I am trying to cherish the moments of these first few weeks while I survive the larger portion of the days (and nights). And I do offer plenty of "Glory"s and "Amen"s when I watch my little baby and his ever-changing expressions as he sleeps.