Friday, May 13, 2011

Sammy's Tulips

Last year a friend of mine lost her son, Samuel David, a baby who was forced to be born at 28 weeks, and then lived just 28 days. During that time there was a lot of heaviness in our life and the lives around us. When little Sammy died, my husband brought these sprouted tulip bulbs home and planted them here where I could see them from the window at my desk. He said "I thought we needed a little life around here." He was so right. We were surrounded by death, and many threats of more death. This small gesture was an act of perfect thoughtfulness and love.

This spring has been long in coming. For months I've been saying "Did I move back to Seattle?! What is with all this cold gray weather?! Is it actually snowing... AGAIN... in May. Ugh!". Well, spring has finally come for real, and these bulbs decided to finally grow and bloom. Ordinarily they would have already bloomed and faded away by this time, but not this year. This year they waited. By this time next week, Samuel's little brother will be born. New life. Did he tell his tulips to wait for his brother? No, I don't really believe he could do that. However, when I saw them bloom, now, when his brother is about to be born, I couldn't help but connect the dots of symbolism. It was too beautiful not to share. At his memorial service I shared this verse with my friends

1 Peter 5
10And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

I know that in the time that has passed since Samuel died that our friends have gone through some radical changes and redemption in their lives. None of us knew what God had in store for them. They have suffered, greatly. But through that suffering came redemption and now, new life.

Psalm 103
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits, 3who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Samuel's fingerprints are here too. At his service several of us shared this passage of scripture.

John 9
1As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

I don't think any of us had any idea just how much God wanted to show us through Samuel's short life. We are such finite beings, and God, he's infinite. He thinks so much bigger than we do. What beautiful stories he writes. I have been so blessed to have a small window through which I could watch God write this story with his favorite plot line, redemption.

Psalm 30
11You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers Day

Favorite picture of my family, Ellie's birth, April 2006

Yesterday, I went to a production called Listen to Your Mother. I had mixed feelings about going. I knew it would be deep, possibly painful at times. It wasn't going to be a Hallmark style tribute to motherhood. It was going to be real, and raw. Real and raw... really, haven't these been the themes of my own life for years?! Sometimes, I'd really rather not go THERE. I mean, I know I've been given my own suite in that house, but I like taking walks outside of it sometimes!

Twelve women dared to stand on that stage and share vulnerable parts of their souls. And as is usually the case with things that are real, it was beautiful. Real is beautiful. It has varying degrees of pain to go with it that make our hearts clench and tears come to our eyes. But somehow, at the same time, we're smiling. There is beauty. My friend, the Magnificent Mindi, likes to refer to the phoenix rising from the ashes in reference to her son after his bone marrow transplant. Motherhood is also like the phoenix rising from the ashes. So many things happen that can crush us. That do crush us. But again and again, we rise. We look for the beauty, we cherish it, we tuck it away into the depths of our hearts, we pull it out and use it to fuel us when the darkness comes again.

I would like to offer up my heartfelt thanks to the women who each shared a part of their souls yesterday. It was a beautiful experience. It was a true tribute to the many roles, trials, and the beauty of motherhood.